Having a baby is a life changing experience, both exciting and terrifying at the same time. All parents know that it puts enormous pressure on the couple, the family and the mother in particular. The stresses and strains involved in having a baby can sometimes precipitate mental illness.
Mothers who have a mental illness can often feel ashamed and worried about the effects on their child, but the most important thing to remember is you are not alone. Removing the stigma to allow those who are ill and their families to talk about it and get help is essential to recovery and ensuring everyone in the family is thriving.
At Our Time, we have been working with families affected by parental mental illness for 16 years and have developed the KidsTime Workshops to support the whole family based on our knowledge and research:
- Talking about it helps
- Knowing you are not alone and being in a group where you feel safe to disclose your fears
- Having a good explanation from a knowledgeable and sympathetic professional
Key points to remember:
- Remove the stigma: there is nothing to be ashamed about and you are not alone
- Talk about it: find a safe place and trusted adults who share your experience
- If it happens, tell someone and get help, don’t suffer in silence, there is help available
There is no shame in having a mental illness, but we as a society should be ashamed if we allow those who are suffering and their families to remain hidden from support.