Bringing the baby home. Oh my goodness. The world tilted on its axis, day and night meant nothing, and my boobs became a point (or two) of pain, discussion, politics, identity, and most crucially food.
I didn’t take to it.
In my exhausted and terrified head this signified that I had failed utterly at the #mostnaturalthingintheworld. I was offered breastfeeding support that consisted of being brutally manhandled, pep talks and, in the end, being tutted at and waking up to a bottle of formula the nurse had placed on my nightstand.
By the time my daughter had her 6 month check I had become so mentally unwell and so ashamed of how I was feeling that I was bereft of hope and numb to the delights of my growing girl.
Kate and Maddie Then
A perceptive and kind health visitor picked up that all was not well with me. My house was too clean, my appearance was carefully curated and my mum-brand was something a Disney princess would find a bit too chirpy. I’d lost touch.
As a result of the health visitor’s input I began to receive weekly visits from the Community Health Team. These continued for almost 12 months and the it took the first 8 of those for me to get anywhere near the truth of what was really going on for me. Surely new mums like me should be grateful, milk-doped, dreamy eyed – I wasn’t any of these things.
This #TimeToTalk Day I want to start a conversation about my reality as a new mum. My daughter is now 22, she sends me parcels of facemasks I might like, silly little things and notes that tell me I’m awesome. I am an excellent mother who grew a competent, rounded, confident woman – I wish I could go back to 1999 and whisper in my ear that it turns out ok, and that things begin to get better when I start to talk truthfully about my mental health.
Kate and Maddie Now
How MumPod Can Help:
By Rosamund McFadden
Founder & Managing Director at MumPod Company Limited
Our MumPod consultancy services add a unique insight into the needs of the new mother, both physically and mentally and how employers can meet those needs and show how they value their staff. Both Kate and I have had first hand experience of the vulnerability of motherhood and lack of support and understanding of the highly functioning mentally unwell parent. Kate’s experience is still common today, I am sad to say.
Breastfeeding is #natural and #thebioligicalnorm of #infantfood, but as a Midwife and IBCLC I know too well how hard it is and the vital need for consistent support. Suffering from mental ill health on top of trying to get to grips with it brings its own challenges and risks. We know that approximately 20% of mothers will suffer from some kind of mental illness in the first 12 months after birth. We also know that breastfeeding benefits the mental health of the mother (Borrra, Iacovou and Sevilla, 2014) , however there is a caveat to this statement: the mother’s intended method of feeding is crucial here. The study found that those who intended to breastfeed and managed to do so reduced their risk of perinatal mental ill health, however for those who intended to do so but struggled and could not continue were at an increased risk.
#TimeToTalk crosses all aspects of our life and we have seen some awesome work done by some employers such as @Network Rail or @Nationwide Building Society, for example implement wellbeing networks where staff can have TimeToTalk with their peers. MumPod’s consulting understands the specific needs of the new and breastfeeding parent and with our expertise we have developed innovative solutions: Understanding the pregnant and Breastfeeding Employee workshops, policy review services, ‘maternity leave’ and ‘welcome baby’ gift boxes , mother’s room estate evaluations or installation of our ‘actual’ Mum Pods. So take some TimeToTalk to us about how we can help employers help working parents and our future generations’ health.