Mental Health – #bekind

Mental Health – #bekind

Mental health after having a baby can be a fragile being. Both mothers and fathers can suffer from mental health issues arrising from the birth of a child.

Mental health is at the forefront of every news outlet. Especially over the last 10 days, with the sad news of another celebrity taking their own life. Caroline Flack had reached breaking point, where the only way out she could see was to take her own life. She was a young, talented and beautiful woman but this did not prevent the waste of an amazing life!

If a woman who seemingly appears to have a perfect life can suffer with her mental health. Then it is maybe easier to see and understand how a new parent whether it be a new mum or a new dad can suffer from the same.

Mental Health in parents

As a new parent or even an experienced one, life can be overwhelming. It’s not necessarily the big things but it’s an accumulation of all the little things! From exhaustion, dirty nappies, bottles, midnight feeds, school, trying to run a house, work, keep in touch with friends and so the list goes on.

It is very normal to feel overwhelmed. Becoming a parent has a huge impact on your life. The changes are unprecedented and mind-blowing! But what every single person needs to know is that they are not alone and there is always someone there to support and help you.

Postnatal Depression

The most common form of mental health issues after a baby is born is postnatal depression. This is usually associated with mothers although often fathers can suffer from it too.  It is very common with it affecting at least one in ten women within the first year of their child’s life. This figure is more than likely much higher, as many women still do not seek treatment or help.

Don’t confuse postnatal depression with the baby blues. They are two very different things! Baby blues are ‘normal’ after the birth of a child as hormone levels start to return to normal, this can cause a huge dip. This can affect many women making them weepy, anxious and emotional. But it will usually clear up within the first 10 days.

Postnatal depression is a completely different beast and the effects can be long-reaching. The signs will be different for each person as we all deal with things in different ways. Your friends or partner may even spot the signs before you do.

The signs can range in feelings of sadness that don’t go away, loss of interest in the world, lack of appetite, feelings of self-loathing to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Many mums have good days and bad days. But if you are feeling these continually then you need to seek help and support from a professional, you could approach your health visitor or doctor.

Traumatic birth- the aftermath

Mental health issues can occur many years after birth but can be traced back to their earliest moments of motherhood. For me, this is very true. I had a very traumatic birth in which we nearly lost our son, he is now 18 months old. Now as this was not my first pregnancy I very much brushed aside this fact. I got on with life with my new son.

That was a huge mistake on my part, his birth was and still is to this day a bit of a blur. I remember bits and pieces and get flashbacks of them resuscitating him. These feelings have caused me to experience patches of mental health issues that could have been avoided if I had dealt with my traumatic birth straight away. The fear of not being that perfect mother and the stigma of having a label placed on me prevented me from doing so.

Moving Forward

Unfortunately, we are not always aware of how close someone is to the edge. We never know what people are dealing with and because they put a smile on their face we believe that they are happy. This is one of the greatest mistakes that we make as a society. We should be learning from those in the public eye that have taken their own life, that a smile hides an often beaten soul!

So let us teach our children by example. that we need to be kind. Help people up instead of beating them down. Most importantly let us show our children how to be kind to each other.

#bekind #mentalhealth

be kind

Sex after children: The truth of the matter

Sex after children: The truth of the matter

Sex after children, the truths and realities from both sides of the fence and how to get that spark back in your relationship.

More marriages breakdown in the first 18 months after a child is born, than at any other time. It’s safe to say that sex after children or the lack of it puts extreme pressure on even the strongest of relationships. This causes relationship stress for both mums and dads!

The problem often occurs before the baby is born, during pregnancy! Couples experience a kind of euphoria and extreme closeness as they pick out nursery colours and baby names. As a couple, you fall into the belief that you’ll parent as equals and are going on this journey together. How wrong could we have been?

Birth and beyond- sex after children

The stress and chaos of birth have subsided. Both parties are on very different paths. Women are embracing being a mother. We feel that our sole purpose on this earth is to love and protect that tiny bundle that we birthed. Men are expected to provide financial and emotional support. Now, this may be harder than our men think. Fathers are the caring birth partners during antenatal. But they are unprepared for their postnatal role.

In their new role, many men are in unfamiliar territory. With huge concern about where they fit into this new family dynamic. Concerns about their partners’ lack of interest in them not only sexually but emotionally arise and this is when relationships start to break down.

Postnatal Blur…

In this postnatal blur of changing nappies, 3 hourly feeds (if you’re lucky) and sleep or the extreme lack of it, as you can imagine sex is something that for us women can take a backseat. But for a man who is no longer the center of his lovers’ life, it’s a harsh reality check!

As women, we put our children not only first but second and third and the men in our lives come a poor fourth. This is not a reflection on our wonderful long-suffering partners but more to do with a change in priorities. We mums get everything that we need from our new baby and this heightens our disinterest in sex and quickly becomes a metaphor for our disinterest in him.

How we see ourselves

Sex is complicated after children. Apart from the sheer exhaustion that we feel as new mothers, the fact our bodies no longer look or feel like they belong to us, those few extra pounds make us really self-conscious and this makes us feel anything but sexy!

All of this coupled with our overwhelming need to be the perfect mother. Never asking for help, as we see this as a weakness and pure exhaustion. Sex drive plummets to all-time lows!!

Protecting our sex lives!

Our little ones can easily suck the life out of our sex lives. It’s quite ironic when that exact act is what got them here. As parents, we need to protect our sex lives and that intimate couple time we long for.

Before their birth sex was spontaneous, exciting and plentiful. Now, it’s like booking an appointment to get your car serviced. Like that, it only happens once a year! Do not despair this is not how it has to be!

Sex after children

In order to protect this most sacred couple time, we must put some simple things in place. Ask for help, schedule a baby sitter even if it’s only once a month. Talk about anything but your children when it is just the two of you. Remember you used to talk about the news, work, friends, etc!

This is not just about sex but reconnecting with your partner, we need to stay tuned in to them so that we can take the opportunity to be intimate when it arises! But most of all we must remember that we love each other and this is the reason we want to have sex in the first place!

Relationship pressure from a dads viewpoint

Relationship pressure from a dads viewpoint

The factors that cause relationship pressure from a dads point of view and how couples need to ensure that they are communicating

Once you embark on the roller coaster of being a parent your relationship with your partner is suddenly redefined. As mums, we often discuss the stresses and strains on our relationship with friends. But we are not the only ones in this partnership. Relationship pressure from a dad’s view is something that we do not talk about so much. Unfortunately, dads can sometimes be very much the forgotten side of the partnership! Yet in a recent study by the National Childbirth Trust, they discovered that 39% of dads suffered from postnatal depression, that’s 1 in 3.

Relationship Pressure

So at a time when mental health is very much in the news why do so many men choose to keep quiet? Included in this would be my partner. He never talks about the pressure on our relationship that having a family has caused. The dads that I spoke to had very similar concerns and worries.

Worries and concerns

One of the biggest pressures that the dads all felt was the concern that they had for their partners. When we as women should be leaning on our men for support, we are actually pushing them away. This, in turn, is causing them to worry about the pressure that we are putting on ourselves to be perfect. What the dads wanted was to be able to take some of the burden off of our shoulders. Unfortunately, our own idealised perception that we have to do it all perfectly and alone is one of the key factors causing relationship pressure for our men!

Lack of control and relationship pressure

The sudden lack of control that dads feel they have over their own lives is another primary cause of relationship pressure. Children make life unpredictable, we all know this. Plans often shelved at a moment’s notice. Men seem to find this particularly hard to deal with. Often it’s their partners that feel the brunt of this loss of control over their lives. Men crave the control to come and go as they please at a moment’s notice. But now there is childcare to arrange or the packing of stuff to take with you on an outing.

Couple time

Before you were a family you probably took for granted the time you spent together as a couple. I know I did! Now even grabbing a simple coffee together takes more forward planning than invading a small country! This puts tremendous pressure on not only dads but mothers too. For the first few months, your relationship really does take a backseat while you try to survive. But once you have settled into some sort of routine, there needs to be time to be a couple. Not only will this strengthen your relationship with your partner but it will also ensure that you are both the best possible parents that you can be

Financial Stress

Even in the 21st century many of the dads I spoke to still felt the pressure to provide for their family. Households are run on the basis of having two incomes and both partners working. The sudden drop in income when one partner stays at home with the children seems to cause men huge relationship pressure. Even at a time when women have broken into almost every male-dominated area and earn good pay, our dads still felt that they had to take on the burden of providing for the whole family alone. They are suddenly thrown back to the 1950s when that is what life was like.

The same

After talking to some wonderful and devoted fathers, it appears to me that both mums and dads have the same worries. We have the same concerns about our changing relationship after having a family. We are scared of losing the partner that we fell in love with long before there was the tiny pitter-patter of feet.

I believe relationship pressure is caused by our need to be perfect and to have a perfect life! The constant bombardment of images on social media of the perfect home, relationship, and family are all we see. Yet what we forget is that these are tiny snippets of these lives. What we need to remind ourselves of each time we look at these images is that the truth is nobody’s life is that perfect!!!