May 2021- Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week
By Lindsey, Home-Start Glenrothes
I decided to do a few lines for Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. After thinking long and hard about what to write...
Did l do it from a worker's point of view? How hard it is to do 1-1 support in current Covid restrictions? How did we feel? ...
I realised it was not about us: it is about the families that we offer support to.
l arranged to have a chat with a mum, who I will call Elizabeth, about her journey with our service. I had to find out if she was willing to share her thoughts and feelings. She was and this is her story...
Elizabeth: "I never actually planned to have a family, but I don’t regret having her. She is beautiful and I now can’t remember my life without her. l have always struggled with my mental health and always thought...could l cope? Was l good enough? l love her, but is that enough? We are in a pandemic and no one is around- what if l am doing it all wrong?"
"My Health Visitor referred me to Home-Start. I was a bit anxious. Would they judge me? What if l don’t like them? But can they help me? I realised the answer was yes ."
"My worker was so calm and reassuring. She said to me, “Oh, what a lovely happy baby you have. You are doing a great job: she is so alert and happy. And how are you ?" This was the start of my journey. We began to chat and she reassured me that what I was feeling was ok: it was all-natural and heightened because of the pandemic."
3 weeks later
Elizabeth: "People are being kind; they are helping to get shopping when l can’t face going out. l keep thinking if l catch it, what will happen to me and my baby? Will she catch it? Will she ever see a face without a mask? Now l feel l can’t go out."
Worker: "Let’s do one step at a time, let's arrange a phone call to your G.P and we can talk it over. Also, how about you and l and baby have a 10min walk and see how it feels. No crowds, no shops?"
Elizabeth: "With you? Ok- poor worker! Once l was out in fresh air walking in the park and people smiled and said hello. l started to love being out. My baby enjoyed new sights and people. l feel the community is friendlier. So many people spoke to us. My worker had a Fitbit on and we walked for 3 miles!"
"The following week another mum met us in the park and we walked and talked together; we had such a similar story. l feel so lucky: now we have swapped numbers. Now we talk most days and meet with our worker on our allocated day. Not every day is good but they are getting better."
This is a condensed version of our conversation but we hope from this conversation you can see how important it is to be kind. At present we are all wearing masks to go out in public but beyond the masks that we put on for protection, some people have masks that hide anxiety and fear. Let's all continue to be kind and supportive in our community, it is the people who live in our community that make our community.