What is Maternal Mental Health?

Maternal mental health hits deep for us on personal and professional levels. While maternal mental health is getting more recognition as various organizations, individuals, and professional groups push for mothers and birthing persons to be acknowledged, there can still be some uncertainty about what exactly maternal mental health means.

Clarifying this question is important, so today we’re here to answer:

What is maternal mental health?

As a professional counseling therapy practice in East Texas with the sole goal of supporting maternal mental health, we’re here to help you find the support and healing you need on your motherhood journey!

Defining Maternal Mental Health

Maternal mental health (MMH) refers to the mental health of the mother and birthing persons during pregnancy, postpartum, and motherhood. We serve all birthing persons, but we will use the term mother throughout this post to be most concise.

Often what comes to mind first is postpartum depression or PPD.

While this is one diagnosable mental illness in the first year of a baby’s life, it’s not the only part of a mom’s mental health and definitely not the only mental health issue that surfaces.

Maternal mental health is a broad term that encompasses all of the mother’s mental health. It includes perinatal (pregnancy and postpartum) mood and anxiety disorders, as well as mental health during all phases of motherhood.

Sometimes the mental health issues are related directly to mothering issues, but sometimes it’s about past issues resurfacing or about how motherhood impacts your quality of life- and that has nothing to do with how much you love your life and your kids!

Sometimes maternal mental health therapy focuses on clinical mental illness, sometimes it’s a support at a different level. Motherhood is a big transition, and the stages of transition in motherhood can be overwhelming. Getting support for any level is vastly important- for you and your kiddos.

We know mothering doesn’t stop, even when your kids are grown and out of the house! So when we say maternal mental health, we want to care for moms of little kids, tweens and teens, young adults, and grandmothers and aunts.

Mental Health

At MMHETX, we look at mental health as an umbrella term- it encompasses our mental health but also our total well being and health. We have many parts of who we are and our goal is to honor your entire self.

We view health from a holistic standpoint that encompasses our mental, physical, emotional, cognitive, social, sexual and spiritual health.

All of these aspects of who we are, are intricately connected and affect each other. If we ignore one area of ourselves, all other areas suffer.

We want to embrace all of who you are, just as you are today, in order to support all of who you are. It’s true we all have growth areas, but we can are also worthy of support and love, today, just as we are. We want to be someone in your life that provides that safe space of support and love.

Why Does It Matter?

There are so many myths and misconceptions around motherhood that overlook caring for the mother after baby arrives.

Mothers often feel neglected or overlooked… and there is a belief that you just suck it up and move on. Mothers are second fiddle and that’s the way it is.

However, we know that when mothers struggle, kids struggle. Marriages struggle. Families struggle. Helping yourself helps those you love around you.

But that’s not the only reason to get help and why your mental health matters.

It’s because mothers matter.

It’s because YOU matter.

You deserve to prioritize taking care of yourself and your mental health. Period.

There’s no “reason” needed other than that you are a precious human being that is worthy of care and attention.As moms we often see this for others, but fail to see it for ourselves. And if we do acknowledge our struggle, we buy into that myth that we should just suck it up and move on.

Give yourself permission to acknowledge the struggle and get the appropriate level of support and help.

Prioritizing your mental health is a must- for all of you and for all of your loved ones.

If you need a little more encouragement to give yourself permission to have needs and then meet those needs, research has shown us that untreated mental illness during pregnancy and postpartum can lead to:

  • Unplanned unemployment
  • Disconnection from baby and others
  • Increased physical symptoms and illnesses
  • Financial instability
  • Inadequate medical care
  • Early discontinuation of breastfeeding (when breastfeeding is a VALUE and desired by mom)
  • Behavioral issues in children
  • Can negatively affect early brain development in children

Where Do We Go From Here?

Okay now you understand what maternal mental health is and why it matters, the question is…. Now what?

If you’re struggling, you seek help. One study showed that only 60% of mothers with postpartum depression sought help.

This is problematic because mental illness doesn’t resolve on its own. It often leaves an imprint that last and shift throughout life. Sometimes

You deserve better.

That’s what Maternal Mental Health of East Texas is trying to answer- through individual therapy, group therapy, classes, and workshops. We want to provide content that can help YOU on your mothering journey.

All of it.

During pregnancy, postpartum and beyond, we’re here to walk with you.

We have specialized therapeutic training that focuses on supporting mothers, birthing persons and their partners. We offer resources that have a depth of understanding of the perinatal and maternal mental health world.

Follow us on social media, subscribe to our blog for more on various aspects of maternal mental health and email us to see how we can best support you!

It’s important to remind you that you matter… that you are worthy to give your needs, your emotions, and your experiences gentle attention and care. You deserve support and help.

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