As a first-time mum, I was excitedly anticipating the birth of my first child. An experience dreams were made of. I had read the books, Googled the articles, and chatted with my mum friends. I felt, for the most part, ‘prepared’ for motherhood.
And then my son came.
That is when I realised nothing prepares you for motherhood. There are so many different scenarios and possibilities that you just can’t possibly prepare yourself for what is to come.
In the first couple of months, my boy was an excessive screamer. He is the loudest child I have ever met, and he wanted to make sure everyone knew about it.
As a naturally-anxious person, I found this intimidating and frightful. I became petrified of leaving the house, to the point where I cancelled plans and flat out refused to leave. I had many of my mum friends asking me if I was okay, and trying to make plans to catch up, but most of the time these were cancelled if I thought my son would have a meltdown in public.
It was until many months later, after my son got out of this fussy period and became a very happy baby, that I realised that what I had been going through was Postnatal Anxiety. It was a pretty awful time, but I knew it could have been a lot worse.What really got me through were my mum friends. The mums who asked if I was okay. The ones who urged me to come out for a coffee with them. The ones who asked if I needed anything, or if they could help me with my son. These mums really helped me to keep the little sanity I had left during this time.
What really got me through were my mum friends. The mums who asked if I was okay. The ones who urged me to come out for a coffee with them. The ones who asked if I needed anything, or if they could help me with my son. These mums really helped me to keep the little sanity I had left during this time.
Today is R U Ok? Day. A day aimed at suicide prevention by starting up everyday conversations with our friends, family and colleagues. A day at raising awareness about mental health with those closest to you. I am a passionate advocate for talking about mental health in a bid to reduce the stigma surrounding it. I’m a Community Champion for PANDA (raising awareness of Postnatal Depression, Anxiety and Postpartum Psychosis), and this month I’m participating in Liptember, which raises funds and awareness for women’s mental health (with “R U Ok?” being one of the beneficiaries of this fundraiser).
Since starting my own blog and talking about the everyday challenges (and triumphs) of motherhood, I have been blown away by the support I’ve received from friends, family, and mothers across Australia in opening up about mental health. I have since had conversations with close friends about their own mental health, making it a topic of everyday conversations.
It all started with the question “R U Ok?” from my mum friends. It was a simple question, with a big impact. I could openly discuss my struggles. I could openly discuss my concerns. I could openly say, “No, I’m not okay”, and not be judged for it. Maybe if I were more open with this at the very beginning, I could have gotten more support from an organisation such as PANDA.
So as a mum, I urge you to ask the other mums around you, “R U Ok?” It is a little question with a BIG difference, and can go a long way in helping a mum get the support she needs to really thrive (rather than survive) in motherhood.