Tips for moms during Maternal Mental Health Month
Nicola Leo-Rhynie.

THE month of May is observed as Maternal Health Month, an observance that raises awareness for the mental health and the well-being of mothers pre- and post-pregnancy. From serious medical conditions due to pregnancy complications to well-documented cases of post-partum disorder/depression or psychosis, mothers may experience a wide range of symptoms, illnesses and challenges that affect their physical and mental health during their maternal phase. Nicola Leo-Rhynie, vice-president, employee benefits marketing, Sagicor Life Jamaica, shares some tips on how moms can manage these issues.

Develop your support system

A strong support system is a good foundation to have during and immediately after pregnancy, and this can come in various forms. Talk to trusted loved ones and be honest about how you feel. If you are struggling, reach out to your doctor or find a mental health support service. Additionally, joining groups or online forums can be a great way to build your community. Your issues are real, and you are heard, believe that those around you can help.

Be prepared

While it is true that motherhood will bring many wonderful memories and experiences as you bond with your children, it is important to be ready for the challenges. Being prepared includes having a doctor and/or counsellor on call, setting aside an emergency fund, and ensuring you and your child are insured. For example, Sagicor Life's Total Woman Insurance Plan provides mothers with coverage in the event that you become critically ill or experience complications during pregnancy or delivery. This plan also covers complications that your newborn may have at birth, and includes life insurance and investments components, so you can set up your child for a good financial future.

Practise self-care

Self-care may be viewed as a buzzword to many, but it surely plays a huge role in your psychological well-being. Call on the support system you have and take time for yourself to unwind as often as you need. Go for short walks, read your favourite books or watch your favourite TV shows — all of these activities can help to put you in a good mood. It's these small things that can brighten your day and help you stay emotionally healthy.

Be kind to yourself

No one is perfect, and your parental journey is your own. Experiencing emotional challenges is common and does not make you a terrible mom. Be kind to yourself and remember that with the right help, patience, and confidence you will find a synergy that works for you. There is no need to fear being judged for your maternal mental health issues. Don't be too hard on yourself; maternal mental illnesses are common and manageable, so remember you are not alone.

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