Sunday, 5 June 2016

Maternal mental health matters

16 weeks (well nearly 17 weeks) pregnant and I find myself wondering about something my midwife said at my last appointment. 'Maternal mental health is one of our targets!' followed by a giggle.

Maternal mental health is one of our targets.

I find myself thinking...really? And what are you doing to meet these targets? During my appointment I openly said my mental health was not as good as it good have been. I didn't expect a flurry of interventions but I expected acceptance and for this to be monitored....yet nothing was recorded and no advice was given.

Some paperwork has been filled in and referals have been made but I can't help but feel maternal mental health is passed around by professionals and no one really knows who's responsibility it is. The result? In my experience anyway the woman ends up feeling no more supported then she did in the first place.

I don't want to be a tick box on your piece of paper. I don't want to be a target you can meet by passing me on to someone else.

I want to be a human listened to and accepted. I want to know that if the shit hits the fan you've got my back but I don't.

As wonderful as it is and as grateful as I am that I feel my baby is 100% cared for I can't help but wonder why it seems to be so difficult to do the same for me? I am confident if I had a physical problem I would be treated or monitored straight away...but then mental health is different isn't it?

It's almost invisible and therefore difficult to monitor I suppose. It's subjective, there are no machines to gauge how someone's feeling in the way that blood pressure can be measured.

If I could ask one thing (or maybe two) of midwives it would be this.

Talk to your clients and listen to what they say. No one expects you to work miracles but you have no idea of the power of talking to someone and letting them talk knowing they will be listened to. Trust me on this it's how I make a living.

Maternal mental health DOES matter. I can't help but feel there is something missing in terms of education. Don't get me wrong like every profession there are people who are passionate about different things and I've met midwives passionate about mental health...but on the whole it feels like midwives have been given these targets but not the knowledge as to why they need to meet it. This seems really unfair somehow.

When I had my 6 week check after having Alice I informed my GP that I wasn't feeling myself and that I wanted support. His response? Talk to your health visitor. I spoke to my health visitor, their response? Speak to your GP.

At the time I left it. My mistake. Things got worse and we know how that ended.

This will not be the case this time.

This time I will ensure that my health is as much of a priority as my baby's....I'm not quite sure how yet but I'm working on it.

My baby deserves a happy mama and I deserve to be a happy mama.

There have been lots of times recently where I've questioned why I thought it was fair to get pregnant again and put my husband and another tiny being through this is one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. I'm sure there are other people who secretly think how can she get pregnant again if everything she says about the last 20 months is true? And that's ok, people can think what they wish.

I wanted to be a mum again, I think deep down I knew I did from when Alice was a few weeks old and if everything had been 'ok' for lack of a better word there would be nothing unusual about this situation.

It comes down to this...I would rather face this fear now then grieve for the baby I could have had for the rest of my life.
 This was my choice and others in my situation make different choices. I stand by my choice and my desire for this baby is stronger then my fear. The road is rocky at the moment but that doesn't mean I want this new life any less.

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