What is Maternal Mental Health?

What is maternal mental health?

Maternal mental health refers to balance; the alignment of one’s true self and her public self. So often Black women feel pressure to wear masks to hide their true feelings and needs in order to make space to take care of others. Historically, Black mothers were taken from their own children in order to care for someone else’s children. There is a mentality that making one’s own needs a priority is selfish; everyone and everything must be taken care of before you can even think about focusing on yourself. We have been conditioned to continue to set ourselves on fire in order to keep others warm. Because of this mindset, most Black mothers don’t acknowledge when they are overwhelmed.

Being out of balance and overwhelmed has become par for the course. If a mother and her children aren’t overbooked, then something must be wrong. The idea of rest and relaxation is foreign and has a negative connotation because if you aren’t ‘running ragged’, then you must be doing it wrong. We have equated taking a break with being lazy. We must learn to hit the pause button and one way to do that is by participating in counseling services. It is important to seek help in order to reestablish balance; to say openly and honestly, “I’m tired as hell,” and to know as Black women, it’s okay to have those feelings and emotions validated by a neutral and non-judgmental person.

Seeking counseling is about saving your sanity, establishing healthy coping skills, learning new ways to communicate in order to get your needs met and how to develop a self-care plan. Counseling is not for “crazy people” or about having someone all “up in your business.” Counseling is about finding clarity about who you are outside of your roles as mother, wife, daughter, worker, and friend. It’s an opportunity for just one hour out of your busy schedule during the week to be authentically you; drop the masks and the pretense and find the you that you want to be.

If you notice:

  • changes in your eating habits or sleep patterns
  • the things that used to bring you joy no longer do
  • your mood seems a little “blah”

Don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to someone.

If that someone needs to be a professional, that is perfectly fine. It’s important for you to understand that You Are Not Alone! We all have had a moment or two or more in our lives when we needed to stop, regroup, and reassess how we’re doing, ask what we’re doing and decide how we feel about it.

Although you can’t stop life from coming at you, you can attend to it.

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