“I found out I was pregnant, just three days before the lockdown. My family & I were concerned about the safety of my unborn child & mine too. Therefore, we decided to follow all the lockdown rules, and remain in complete isolation throughout the pregnancy”.
“Due to the lockdown, and even now with the covid-19 scare still at large, since the delivery of my child, I haven’t met my family. We don’t visit anyone and no one is allowed to visit us because we don’t want to pose any risk to our child.”
“Over the past 1 year, throughout my pregnancy and then after the birth of my child, I had no house help. My house helps left in the initial days of the lockdown and since then, I am too scared to call anyone back from their villages”.
“It’s exhausting, mentally & physically, to be looking after a newborn, managing home affairs, and working from home all at once. I experience intense anger at the slightest of triggers and anxiety about what’s going to happen next.”
These and many other client stories, over the past 4 to 5 months are suggestive of the negative impact on maternal mental health, due to the pandemic and all that continues to come with it. More & more young mothers are coming forward in therapy sessions, to discuss the mental health issues they are experiencing as a result of what they had to endure over the past 1 year.
Some common mental health issues which new mothers are reporting with, to the therapy sessions, include anxiety, depression, anger, intense stress, and burnout. Common reasons for this, as has been highlighted by clients, includes but is not limited to the following:
- Lack of external support system: Family members could not visit to help after child birth, due to travel restrictions, caretakers and house helps were either asked not to come to work or left voluntarily, & spouse being occupied with increased & long working hours. All of this only increased the burden of childcare along with other existing duties on the mother.
- Lack of self-care: Because of being occupied with a demanding schedule, & insufficient additional support, young mothers have ended up ignoring their own physical well-being, which in turn affects their emotional well-being.
- Not being able to move about freely: Contrary to previous times, when one could tag along their newborns to malls, parks or just for casual strolls, now that doesn’t seem to be an easy option and brings along with it more hassles. This leaves no options for new mothers but not to venture out at all, who don’t have a caretaker to leave their kids with. I have clients in different parts of the world, who have not ventured out anywhere in more than 8 months, simply because of this reason.
- Uncertainty about future: There is no clarity about for how long will one have to be careful and when it comes to newborns, one has to be very careful. This uncertainty along with the other reasons listed above, is hugely responsible for the increased mental health issues, among new mothers across the globe.
As a community, as friends, as a spouse & as family members, we need to do our bit to help the women in our life. Be it by sharing the workload a tad bit more or offering help when needed, without passing judgment, we owe it to them, to do more.