It’s a proven fact that your face is the most interesting thing in the world to your baby and even during pregnancy your baby can sense and learn from the outside world and how you’re feeling. So Mum’s wellbeing, physical and mental, is important not only for mum, but for baby and the family.
More than 1 in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby. At the heart of maternal mental health are relationships.
Healthy relationships are an essential foundation to our health wellbeing and can be an important element of supporting us when we’re not feeling our best.
Good quality relationships are also important for children’s life chances. Secure relationships in early childhood have been found to act as a buffer for coping with stress; resilience when adjusting to difficulties or change; as well as improved self-esteem.
One of the most important relationships we have, our relationship with ourselves, can suffer as new mums invest in the range of other relationships that are critical at this time – between mum and baby, family members, health professionals and across society.
Feelings of inadequacy are normal, but try to remember that what your baby needs most is a relationship with you. Therefore, simply being with your baby and involving them in your daily activities is enough for now. Please remember to make time to be kind to and nourish your relationship with yourself, as this will in turn benefit your baby.
If you are feeling mentally unwell during the perinatal period, it is really important that you reach out for support, whether this is a new feeling or an existing illness which is being exacerbated. Speaking to other parents may be an opportunity to learn from your shared experiences. Friends, family and colleagues may be happy to share their experiences with you including any coping mechanisms they may have developed.
Sharing how your feeling with your loved ones can help strengthen your relationships and improve your support structures, but you may also wish to speak to somebody outside of your friend or family circles. In this case, We are Pangs also run perinatal peer support groups hosted by a trained peer support leader who has their own experiences of mental illness.
Access to services is an essential ingredient for women who are experiencing mental ill health or changes in their wellbeing. Waiting lists for generalised counselling support can be long and have been exacerbated over the last year as a result of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
In order to help address this, Relate NI have developed a new partnership with We Are Pangs, who have been supporting parents across Northern Ireland with accessing timely and appropriate care for mental illness since 2014.
Our new partnership will involve a specialised perinatal relationship counselling service, delivered by our expert relationship counselling team, which has recently launched.
Duane Farrell, CEO at Relate NI said “Becoming a parent is one of the most stressful life events we navigate. We know that the quality of our relationships is linked to our mental health, and many new parents report relationship pressures and arguing more.”
“When one parent experiences poor mental health, the entire family unit can be impacted. We are delighted to be able to work with We are Pangs to help mums relieve some of the pressures during the perinatal period, allowing them to create healthier family relationships.”
Michelle Bradley, CEO at We are Pangs added “We’re excited to be partnering with Relate NI to provide timely access to counselling support for our parents. Struggling with mental ill-health in pregnancy or post-birth can be one of the most distressing times of a parent’s life, and the additional pressures of the pandemic have exacerbated this for many. It is our aim to ensure that no parent is left to struggle alone. We are hopeful that with continued investment, we’ll be able to provide this service alongside Relate NI for a long time to come.”
For more information or to access this new perinatal mental health service, visit www.wearepangs.com/our-services or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our expert counsellors have also developed a range of digital resources which have tips, activities and ideas on how you can ‘Relieve the Pressure’ on your relationships during what can be stressful times such as the perinatal period.« Coping with Bereavement this Mother’s Day A Year of Pandemic Relationships »
Our counsellor was excellent and really helped me and my husband to resolve the niggles in our relationshipService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
My counsellor was lovely, attentive and supportive. She helped me to understand my worth and for that, I will always be gratefulService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Individuals
This service is invaluable. Such lovely people to meet and help you through difficult times.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
The service was excellent, my counsellor was really good at getting us to open up and helping us to get to the root of our issues. We have definitely improved our communication since attending.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
I found the Relationship MOT an excellent method of focusing on how we work as a couple and just as importantly, where we need to work. It was professional, insightful and well worth the time. It has reminded us of how much we have to be proud of in our relationship and why it is so important to occasionally review it with experts.Service Attended Relationship MOT
I would definitely recommend using the Relationship MOT service as a bit of a check in with your partner. I thought how the counsellor was able to steer the conversation was very insightful and nuanced. The MOT reminded us about why we are great together but also the importance of communication and respect.” “Our counsellor provided an outside perspective which immediately helped us to agree that we needed to stop and think with more kindness and empathy for each other especially when stressed or pissed off. We both felt that our counsellor’s excellent and gentle facilitation was quite invigorating. So many positives!Service Attended Relationship MOT 2
Very Interesting Content. I like the concept of preparing your relationship before you have problemsService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 4
The face to face programme has made me feel connected with others experiencing similar thingsService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 3
The workshops made me more confident to balance family life after the baby's arrivalService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 2
I now have a better understanding of myself, it is good to know that it is normal to have argumentsService Attended Sustaining Healthy Relationships – Surestart 1
I felt the weekly questionnaire, couples with the counsellor's understanding of my needs help contribute to my own understanding of my mental health and needs throughout.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Individuals
I loved every session. Our counsellor listened to what we had to say and gave us helpful wee homework - would recommend this service to everybodyService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
Our counsellor was a fantastic support - we now feel strong enough to continue working on our relationship togetherService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
I had a very good counsellor that helped me through a lot and it has made me come out the other side.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling for Individuals
Counselling took us from a bad place to a good one and I would return if neededService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
Been a lifeline to help us fall in love again - forever grateful!Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
I would just like to say that when I first came for counselling I felt that I was drowning. I have completed my sessions and I now feel that I can cope a lot better with everything. Thank you for a brilliant service.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Individuals
Thank you Relate NI for a good nights sleep.Service Attended Relate NI Kids Counselling
Really enjoyed Relate NI and I'm actually going to miss counselling. I Found it helpful to find myself again. Very fair and equal within our relationship.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
I appreciated the straightforward, helpful and informed observations about situations. It really helped me cope during Christmas which is a difficult time for usService Attended Family Counselling
The counsellor was very pleasant to meet with. They had the necessary skills to speak and listen when appropriate. I liked their humour and good personality.Service Attended Family Counselling
Relate NI has helped me move on as well as understand myself and situation more. My counsellor listened to me, facilitated me and was compassionate!Service Attended Relate NI Teen Counselling
I felt the weekly questionnaire, coupled with counsellor's understanding of my needs helped contribute to my own understanding of my mental health and needs throughoutService Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Individuals
We had four funded sessions and cannot express how grateful we are for the help, guidance and knowledge. Our counsellor was incredibly professional, and her experience and obvious passion for helping couples like us was exceptional. She helped us to understand ourselves and each other like we otherwise never would have been able to.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Couples
I have tried counselling many times in the past. This time actually made a difference. I was able to complete online sessions as well as some face to face.Service Attended Adult Relationship Counselling For Individuals