R U OK is an initiative set up by a man called Gavin Larkin in response to his dad’s suicide as a result of his silent suffering with depression. It is a simple question to ask but it can literally save lives! As we move towards R U OK day on the 14th of September, let’s all take a moment to ask our family and friends how they are doing and open up a line of communication. As new mothers, or experienced mothers let’s take this a step further to extend the enquiry to our fellow mothering tribe members. These friends or acquaintances you may have met in your mothers group, gymbaroo classes, child friendly parks or even your favourite coffee hangouts.

Motherhood and parenting is the most important job in the world and I think that is why we can put so much pressure on ourselves. It’s a real adjustment especially for first time mothers and parents with lack of sleep, the constant feeding and crying and the general enormity of the role of caring for a tiny human. Add to the mix mothers who have very little support, colicky babies, multiple babies, partners that work away, trouble with breastfeeding and the list goes on. All of these overwhelming things whilst trying to navigate in a whole new world can really compound those feelings of anxiety and stress.

You may think of depression and know of someone suffering or medicated for this disease but we may rarely categorise Post Natal Depression within our fellow mothering group! And the statistics are staggering with an estimated 1 in 7 women affected with PND which can develop anywhere from 1 month to 12 months after giving birth.  What you may also be very surprised to hear is that new dads are also subject to developing PND with 1 in 10 suffering also.

If you are worried about yourself or someone you know, here are some symptoms of Post Natal Depression:

  • Low mood
  • Feelings of failing as a mother
  • Exhausted, teary and sad nonstop
  • Worried constantly
  • Afraid to be alone or leave the house
  • Feeling panicked or anxious
  • Insomnia
  • Worrying about the baby a lot

These types of feelings are bound to come up within your daily interactions and experiences of becoming a new mum and parent but if these feelings are persistent for over 2 weeks then please make an appointment with your doctor. The solutions may be as simple as medication, community support, or offering some counselling.

So to all you wonderful mothers and parents out there if you can mark September 14th down in your already busy calendars and ask the question R U OK to your parenting friends, we can have a part to play in helping mums and dads to stop tormenting themselves and start enjoying their role of being a parent!

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If you or anyone you know would like to seek some advice please contact: 

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 Author: Elise Bradfield @elise_bradfield