Mother's Day isn't always roses and chocolates

Spare a thought for the thousands of new mums this year who are struggling to find the joy in the celebrations of Mother’s Day.

They know they should feel happy, they feel guilty that they don’t, and no matter how hard they try, they just can’t find a reason to smile.  

This Mother’s Day, PANDA CEO Terri Smith is encouraging new mums, dads and family members to seek help early if they have concerns about their or their loved ones’, thoughts, feelings or behaviours.

“Mother’s Day is a timely reminder to check in with new parents and ask how they are coping with the demands of becoming a new parent. Parenthood can be a wonderful experience but it can also come with unexpected challenges,” Ms. Smith said.

"Mother's Day can be tough for those with perinatal anxiety and or depression because it appears everyone else is celebrating and thriving in motherhood. Everyone is different and so is an individual’s experience of new parenthood.

“It is often a tricky conversation to step in and offer support but we know over 100,000 people will experience perinatal anxiety or depression this year. So it’s a conversation worth having.

“We know that early intervention can minimise the impact of perinatal mental illness on mums and dads, and will also help protect the expected or newborn child, so it is important to seek help as soon as possible.

“Many women need help to understand what is happening to them and the encouragement to seek help.  We know that seeking help early is the best option to help them recover and to develop a healthy relationship with their baby.

“PANDA is a good first step on the road to recovery.”

So, this Mother’s Day when thoughts turn to flowers and chocolates perhaps also think of starting a real conversation:

3 questions you can ask a new mum this Mother’s Day:

  1. How do you feel you have been adjusting to the changes of becoming a mum?
  2. Who are you talking to and getting support from?
  3. Are you prioritising your own health and needs – they are just as important as your baby’s.

Around 1 in 7 expecting or new mums in Australia are affected by perinatal anxiety or depression every year and about 1 in 10 dads will also experience the condition.  That’s over 100,000 Australians a year.

PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia) is the only specialist national organisation that focuses on the perinatal period (during pregnancy and in the 12 months following birth) and provides a space for new and expecting parents to share their concerns, get help and tell their story.

If you are worried about your partner, family member or friend, encourage them to phone the PANDA Helpline (1300 726 306).