Being a mum is hard work. Whether you’re minding a newborn, a teething toddler or a moody teenager; it’s often hard to find time for yourself. Between parenting, housework, careers and commutes; sometimes it feels like there’s no time left in the day for you. Still, we must find the time somewhere. Self-care is vital for our mental health and happiness, and one Irish woman wants to help put you first.
Sarah Ryan is a mother of two, and after suffering from both hyperemesis gravidarum and postnatal depression, she says, “I learnt the hard way the importance of looking after your own mental health.” It is Sarah’s experience of motherhood that led her to create a business to encourage mothers to prioritise self-care.
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"People are incredibly generous with baby presents after a birth," she says, "but often the new mama gets forgotten in a sea of cute babygrows and brightly coloured toys. Roll on a few years (sleepless, of course) and add another kid or two into the mix, and many women have simply forgotten to include looking after themselves on the never-ending to-do list."
Sarah adds, "Self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity. It's a lot easier to keep all the balls in the air (and be there for the people we love) if we've allowed ourselves five minutes with a cup of tea to recharge."
That’s where Mama Moments comes in. This subscription service provides busy mothers with the tools they need to mind themselves. Every two months, a box filled with personalised items will be delivered to subscribers’ doors; these include positive or motivational prints; bath and beauty products; coffee or tea; chocolate or snacks; candles; journals; self-care, positive or personal development themed books, and more. The products, which are all sourced from small, independent (usually Irish) businesses, are always full-size. What's more, shipping in Ireland is free.
More to be done
Maternal mental health is becoming less of a taboo in recent years, but there is still a lot more to be done. According to research by the Health Service Executive, over 20,000 Irish women experience distress as a result of pregnancy or parenting every single year. A further 10,000 experience mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety, including fatigue and uncontrollable worries.
The HSE report highlights the need for a telephone helpline. "A national helpline providing perinatal emotional and mental health advice and support modelled on the Australian helpline PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia) should also be considered," it reads. "This helpline provides support to everyone during pregnancy and early parenthood, including partners and family members."
The report goes on to note, “Online resources such as tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/mental-wellbeing and the app BabyBuddy are already easily accessible and their availability should be made widely known." In the meantime, self-care services such as Mama Moments come as a welcome distraction.
Photo by Joshua Rodriguez on Unsplash