“Mum. Motherhood. Just these words alone can evoke an image of the tired, frazzled and overwrought mother. Sure, they bring connotations of love, nurturing, fun, strength and inspiration too. But we cannot deny they also speak universally of stress and exhaustion. The worn-out mum is so ever-present in our lives, our memories, we take her and her exhausted state for granted.
Have you ever thought about what life might be like if the average mum felt a little less depleted? Better still, if she felt more calm and connected? Do you ever wonder what sort of a cumulative effect that might have on us all?
I did. When I was at rock bottom suffering with ongoing mastitis and a painful breast abscess, all the while being extremely sleep deprived and learning to adjust to my new role as a mother. That’s why I ended up creating an online sanctuary for mums to come together and practice self-care in their precious spare moments, with the help of professional guidance from a myriad of health and wellbeing experts, along with a loving sisterhood. But first, the why.
Did you know at least 1 in 7 Australian women are diagnosed with perinatal depression, 13 per cent suffer from anxiety, and 25-35 percent experience severe physical depletion and distress in their first year of motherhood? This may be the tip of the iceberg as there are many mothers who suffer from the common symptoms of early motherhood, such as muscle tension, constantly feeling on edge, crying, irritability and feelings of low self-worth. These may not be recognised as the early signs of depression and anxiety.
Psychologist, Dr Rick Hansen, has even labelled the “chronic, long-term stress and depletion of mothers the single most unacknowledged health problem in the developed world.” Increasingly, experts recognise how important mothers’ mental and physical health is not just for them, but for their families and communities.
While there may not be a single magic remedy to keep all mums happy and healthy, there is one treatment, in particular, that psychologists, GPs and mental health organisations like BeyondBlue and The Black Dog Institute are all recommending …
Mindfulness. The practice of repeatedly bringing our attention back to one thing in order to break out of unhelpful thought patterns and cultivate more awareness, acceptance and compassion. And who could benefit more from these qualities than a mother who is constantly trying to respond to her children’s needs and emotions, let alone her own?
Whether through a guided meditation during nap time, a simple breathing exercise when the day (or night!) is getting the better of you, or a restorative yoga class to wind down after the kids are in bed, mums can gradually develop the skill of mindfulness and learn to nurture their health and happiness, for EVERYONE’S benefit. With just a little help, you can learn to engage your mind and body to work FOR, rather than against you.
By adopting self love and daily care, it is my hope that mums will develop an appreciation for the here and now and be more connected to themselves and their families, so they can truly enjoy the magic of motherhood.”
– by Sally Wood
This blog post is sponsored by The Mindful Mum
To start your journey towards taking better care of yourself today, visit www.themindfulmum.com