Instagram post - partners and maternal mental health
m a t e r n a l
m e n t a l
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a w a r e n e s s
w e e k
The maternal mental health alliance prompt for THU 3rd is "Dads". Anything that celebrates or supports the few will naturally exclude some. But I'd like to speak to the secondary partner here, any and all. If you're on your own, then you are 1 & 2 and you can just soak in all the praise you can get. I'll be speaking from what I know, about our set up with a mum as primary and dad as secondary parent or carer.
To be the partner of a new mother or a primary carer of a baby is a unique position of responsibility, separation and involvement.
Perhaps you just watched a pregnancy that you were simultaneously so a part of, yet could not feel or entirely experience. Then a labour you could not control, that hurt the person you love most and brought you a tiny human who needs you more than anything has before.
There is so much to say on just these 10 months and, let's say, 3 days of labour...but when can you stop and reflect? You are busy: holding fragile necks, wiping tiny creases, gatekeeping visitors, feeding hungry mouths, checking in with colleagues, soothing tears, counting wet nappies, serving pain killers, encouraging sleep. Trying to work out if you love this angry little badger that keeps draining you both of nutrients, sleep and time. Desperate to do the right thing to protect and nurture whilst so tired and uncertain.
Then, probably, your 14 days are up. Back to work. Feeling ready for it? Brain space? Rested?
And this is likely the best case scenario, this is when everything goes really well. It's not necessarily awful, but it's bloody hard.
And when is it your time to heal trauma, or to have some time for yourself? Are we in a boat or an aeroplane here?! Lifeboats for women and children or oxygen for yourself first?
Those well worn mantras for mother's are true for you too: it's all a phase, you can't pour from an empty cup, it takes a village.
It's not all on you, you matter too.
And it is so strong to talk and share your vulnerability - it helps more than it seems it might.