10 myths about parenthood and mental health
From a blog by NCT
NCT are the UK's largest charity for parents - supporting parents through the first 1,000 days. They have debunked popular myths and misconceptions about mental health as related to pregnancy and early years parenting. These myths can lead to new parents suffering in silence and unable to seek help when they need it.
In summary, these are:
Myth #1: Pregnancy is a happy time; pregnant women don’t get depressed
Pregnancy is a happy time but depression and anxiety are common mental health issues during pregnancy and after birth.
Myth #2: It’s just the ‘baby blues’, I’m fine
If symptoms of depression persist, it can be something more serious. There’s a danger this can be labelled as the ‘baby blues’, and therefore many mums don’t seek help.
Myth #3: If I’m diagnosed with a mental health issue, my baby will be taken away from me
The aim of healthcare professionals is to keep families together and help you get better.
Myth #4: If I tell anyone about my mental health worries, they will think I’m a failure or a bad parent or that I don’t love my baby
Adjusting to being a new parent can be an emotional and difficult time and does not make you a bad parent.
Myth #5: Mental health problems only affect certain people
Mental health problems can affect anyone regardless of age, social background or relationship status.
Myth #6: I will be forced to take medication
You won’t be forced to take medication, such as anti-depressants, when diagnosed with a mental health issue but it may help you in the short term while you find long-term techniques to help boost your mood.
Myth #7: I’m the only one who feels this way
Half of new mothers are concerned about their mental health and many are suffering in silence, so you are most definitely not alone.
Myth #8: Only mums suffer from mental health issues like postnatal depression
NCT found that more than 1 in 3 new fathers (38%) are concerned about their mental health. In general, studies have shown that one in 10 dads has post-natal depression. .
Myth #9: There’s nothing I can do to help a parent suffering with mental health issues
Just being there, listening and providing non-judgemental emotional and practical support can help. Gently encouraging them to speak to their GP, midwife or health visitor is also important.
Myth #10: I’m never going to feel better
Recovering from a mental health problem takes time; it’s not something you can simply ‘snap out of’. There are things you can do to help you on the road to recovery.
There are fuller explanations on the NCT website of all the above and advice on actions you can take.
This information (and other info on the site) should be useful for discussion in your parent and toddler group.
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