In the list of health ailments that pregnant and lactating women are vulnerable to, the ones related to mental health care are the least discussed. Social stigmas and criticisms regarding parenting decisions often force women to ignore symptoms of depression and anxiety. During a recent study, as many as 61 percent of the surveyed women admitted that they felt judged for their parenting skills, mostly by folks within the family. The critics were mostly their partners, parents and in-laws. Early this year, the Duchess of Cambridge in the UK, also mother to two young children, publicly spoke about the need for better mental healthcare measures for pregnant women. She pointed out that at least two in ten women experience mental-health issues before and after their child is born. "Many of these women also suffer in silence, overwhelmed by negative feelings, but also afraid to admit to the struggles they are facing due to the fear or shame of what others might think if they aren’t coping," she had said. Many women go through post-partum depression (PPD) but the ambit of mental illness extends beyond that. According to the WHO, the mother with depression suffers a lot and may fail to adequately eat, bathe or care for herself in other ways. Even babies are likely to be affected by mothers with mental disorders. Prolonged illness hinders breastfeeding and infant care too. Here are a few tips that experts lend out to expecting moms to take care of their mental health.
1. Focus on nutrition
Eating your baby’s leftover doesn’t count as eating healthy. Consult a qualified nutritionist who can draw up a diet chart that meets your nutrition and lifestyle needs. Along with diet, a regular exercise regime will keep low moods at bay. At home, you can also try to start a small kitchen garden to inculcate green eating habits in your child.
2. Notice your emotions
Symptoms of depression can appear in early stages of pregnancy and last for months at stretch. It is okay to acknowledge and talk to a trusted one about hard feelings. New moms need to understand that it is not their fault that they are feeling low and sad. Healthcare professionals say that there are many factors that contribute to mood shifts and the mother is not responsible for any of them.
3. Make time for your hobbies
Indulge in your favourite pastimes and social activities that make you happy and positive. Taking out time for these activities can be easier than you realize. For example, you don’t have to run to the nearest store to get unique maternity-related clothes and accessories. Check out Bubs for rompers & onesies and get products delivered right at your doorstep.
4. Ask for help
The most important thing in maintaining good mental health is to seek help, whenever necessary. Once you suspect the existence of a recurring problem, set up an appointment with a therapist as soon as possible. Even responses that you think are insignificant, like regular panic at-tacks, have an impact on bonding and attachment between a mother and her baby.