Photo credit: Original photo Anh Nguyen, butchered by Zoe Challenor
For mothers everywhere this Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week
1) Don’t add to the load. You may not be able to see it but it weighs a tonne. Even she can’t see it. She’s been carrying it since her life began.
2) Learn to listen, ditch the judge. Practise “I’m sorry you’re so tired” and “what can I do to help?”
3) Do your bit to create a society that looks after mothers. Hell, rewind. Do your bit to create a society that looks after girls and women so that when they become mothers they’re not already carrying a thousand burdens.
4) Bring food. Always bring food.
5) Create spaces for her. If in doubt how to do this, ask someone called Lindsay Jane Hunter.
6) Don’t... PLEASE don't... tell her where and when and how long to breastfeed.
7) For the love of God, unravel your own patriarchal conditioning - it’s probably the single biggest gift you could give mothers everywhere. Why hack at the leaves when you can go for the root?
8) Send meal services, fruit, snacks, boxes of greens, someone to childmind, someone who cleans. Send help!
9) Ask her how she is and be interested in her reply. If she’s lost in there, it will plant a trail of breadcrumbs for her to begin to follow home.
10) This mother has burst at the seams to give birth to this child. Sweated and strained, bled and cried, endured sleepless nights and all the triggers. She’s touched out, hollow, empty, bled dry. She dreams of giving this child the world, while feeling she has nothing to give. Tread gently with love. And don’t forget the snacks.
I wrote this in response to a Maternal Journalling session prompt with the Lindsay Jane Hunter referenced above. These sessions have been incredibly supportive to my own maternal mental health recovery following Long Covid. Lindsay's running another series starting 8th June. Here's a link to more information.