Lately I’ve been coming across a few posts on social media like this one that just wind me up!
I mean wtf?! On one hand us women are meant to be encouraging each other to feel empowered and self confident and then we go and post stuff like this?
This in particular really got me riled. I mean what bull. I get my hair done every 8 weeks and I own a Samsung Note 9 so that means I must be neglecting my child, right? Wrong. I only started getting my hair cut and coloured with regularity last year but the difference it made to my confidence levels and mental state is incredible. Should I feel guilty for taking those few hours every couple of months to do something for myself? Of course I shouldn’t! And neither should any Mum who takes time out to do something for herself. Because you matter too.
Statements like the one above seem to suggest that everything a Mum does should be for her child or she’s failing somehow. But actually, in my opinion, I don’t think this is healthy or sustainable. I think it’s so important for Mums to make sure their needs are met too. I appreciate this isn’t always easy if you’re a single Mum, a special needs Mum or you simply struggle to juggle life or find the time, but even if all you can manage is that bubble bath you never get to have, it makes a big difference.
Now I’m going to throw a few stats at you.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for women during pregnancy and one year after birth.
- 7 in 10 women will hide or underplay the severity of their perinatal mental illness.
- More than 1 in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year of having their baby.
(statistics taken from Maternal Mental Health Alliance)
Clearly, looking at those, there’s a big problem. And I believe it also reaches way beyond that first year. Mental Health is a major issue worldwide full stop. I talk to women all the time who appear to struggle but are just battling on because they feel that to take the time out for them would make them a “bad mum”. This kind of thinking really needs to stop. Because how can you be the amazing Mum you are if your mental health is failing? You can’t. At some point it will come to a head. For me it did last year. I felt that I was struggling for a lot of Noah’s first year but it wasn’t till 2018 that I realised that I couldn’t carry on this way. I felt I’d lost my identity and I needed to get back a bit of me. So I started doing a few things for myself, like getting my hair done, and I’m not saying it’s a cure all for mental health illness, because of course it isn’t, but it made a difference. When I was taking anti-depressants and feeling anxious, it gave me a focus. Something to look forward to. I still have bad days now but when I do I try to do something small for me. And it always helps. Till you read posts like the one above. Posts that are anti self care, anti mental health recovery and frankly anti-you! Because of course, you’re Mum. You have no other purpose than to look after your children. Posts like that basically promote the idea that you no longer matter.
So I guess all I really want to say is never let ANYONE make you feel guilty for taking some time out for you. Because you DO matter. Yes it’s important that your children are well cared for but in order to do that you have to be ok too. If there’s one thing I want you to take from reading this it’s You Matter Too.