Posted on: May 13th, 2024

Mother’s Day Blues

By: Ms. Celeste Chapko, MS, LMHC-A, MT-BC, PMH-C

Mother’s Day can be a beautiful celebration of a mother’s love, but it can also be a difficult day filled with unmet expectations and tears of exhaustion. Mothers love flowers and cards and chocolates, but they also love a night of uninterrupted sleep and a kitchen that they didn’t have to clean themselves. Even more so, mothers enjoy people who listen non-judgmentally when they talk about their worries and fears and those who offer compassion and respect when they ask for help. Mothers need people who believe them when they say, “I’m struggling” and people who act when they say, “I need help”.

Did you know that 1 out of 5 mothers will experience a Perinatal Mental Health Disorder? This number climbs higher and higher the more we ignore the needs of mothers and deny them the support they so desperately need. In the United States, there is no federal paid maternity leave. Mothers often feel pressured to return to work just a few weeks after giving birth, despite still recovering mentally, physically, and emotionally. It is very common for mothers to raise their children without a village or a support network to help with childcare, household tasks or healthcare needs. This reality is isolating and can create mental health issues in new mothers. Postpartum depression and anxiety are the number one complication of childbirth, and it is vital that we begin to recognize and provide the support mothers deserve.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a Perinatal Mental Health Disorder, it is important that you know there is hope. Common treatments for Maternal Mental Health issues include self-care, therapy, medication, and peer support. The number one self-care tool is sleep. A mother who is not sleeping well can not heal well. Sleep is vital to good mental health. Other self-care options are good nutrition, hydration, exercise, social time, and time alone. Therapy and peer support are distinctly different but similar coping strategies that both emphasize sharing thoughts and feelings within a safe and confidential environment. Therapy can aid a mother in identifying the connections between her emotions and her struggles while helping her develop coping tools to help increase her mental health capacity. Peer support creates a welcoming environment for mothers to come alongside each other and provide empathy, encouragement, and a listening ear. Medication support from a trained provider is also an option that some mothers find vital to their recovery process.

This Mother’s Day when we ask the question “How are you?”, let’s commit to really listening to the answer. Mothers deserve to feel supported and valued in their role and it is time for us to come alongside them and give them the support they need. There are many organizations that are ready and willing to serve moms. Pillars of Wellness has many excellent therapists with experience in Maternal Mental Health. The NWI Center for Maternal Wellness offers peer support and education to mothers struggling with Perinatal Mental Health Disorders.  Mental Health America also offers a variety of parenting education and support resources for mothers and families.  ANEW Ministries offers support to young moms, 13-23, and are ready to connect moms to the resources they need.  Last, but not least, Postpartum Support International is an amazing non-profit serving mothers across the globe, offering 25+ free peer support groups every week as well as a variety of other important resources.

If you are a mother who is struggling, please know you are NOT alone. Motherhood can be hard and overwhelming, and you are allowed to ask for support.  It’s also okay if you’re singing the Mother’s Day Blues this year because what matters most is your mental health. You do not have to walk this motherhood journey alone. Reach out today and take that first step. You deserve to be well.