Netmums says we must normalise emotional and mental health problems suffered by new mothers

Netmums says we must normalise emotional and mental health problems suffered by new mothers

Anne-Marie O'Leary says new mums must be honest about how they feel

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Netmums has called for emotional and mental health problems suffered by new mums to be normalised and for people to help their friends.

The National Childbirth Trust estimates half of new mums have mental health or emotional problems whilst they are pregnant or within a year of giving birth. This includes problems such as postnatal depression, post-traumatic stress and anxiety. It is thought only half of those suffering problems like this seek help.

Anne-Marie O'Leary, the editor-in-chief at Netmums, told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "We really need to normalise this."

She added that we need to "be honest with ourselves if we’ve just had a baby about how we’re feeling and go and get help if we’re not feeling great."

It's also important to "be honest with our friends if we can see that someone is suffering. If we can see that someone really needs some help, we need to stretch our arm out and say 'come on I can help you I’m here for you'."

Many mothers use Netmums' Parent Supporter Service, an anonymous forum to discuss this and similar issues, "because they want to be anonymous, they don’t feel like they can publicly say 'I don’t feel great about being a mum, I’m not feeling ok, it doesn't feel nice'."

Mother Karen Cannon, who suffered postnatal depression, also revealed: "I was really low. There were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to see anybody talk to anybody and I felt like I could just pack my suitcase and get in my car and just leave and never come back.

"By the time my daughter was 12 weeks my husband could sort of see that there was something going on with me" so "I just thought, it’s time, if I don’t get some help now things are really going to get bad for me."

A health visitor then referred her and she was given a parent support worker who was able to help her.

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Childhood obesity rates are at an all-time high and Public Health England wants us to cut the calories. Are we at risk of pandering to the nanny state?@JuliaHB1 | @CernyCaroline

— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) March 6, 2018