Are you an expectant mother or know of any mums-to-be? The transition into motherhood isn’t always easy. Some women find it lonely, stressful and difficult – and that’s okay. This May, for the third year in a row, Irish psychotherapists Fran Buckley and Elva Glynn are raising awareness for maternal mental health.
Wednesday, May 1 is Maternal Mental Health Day. Whether you're a mum-to-be, a new mother, or if you know of any women who have recently had babies, this is a reminder that it's okay to not be okay. The transition into motherhood is hard; it's normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed.
In honour of this, friends Fran Buckley and Elva Glynn (both of whom have a background in psychotherapy), are holding 'Paint Your Bump' events all over Ireland; from Donegal Town to Ballincollig in Cork.
They are determined to help others open up about the difficulties of early motherhood, and they want women to know they’re not alone when things get tough.
"The theme of this year's events is about busting myths," Fran tells IMAGE.ie. "We'll have different women share videos through our social media platforms, each choosing a myth they would like to bust.
"We feel this is really important because the more women hear about these unrealistic expectations of ourselves, and realise it’s not always the case (and sometimes it’s not true at all), that it can really take the pressure off," she says.
"One of the myths that I chose to bust was ‘instant love’ and 'instant bond' when your baby is born. That isn’t always the case at all," Fran tells us.
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"Absolutely, some women will get this rush of love; but actually, a lot of women don’t. They might feel shock, anxiety, exhaustion, overwhelmed, amongst a lot of other feelings. And that’s okay. Because you’ve just given birth. Your body has just done something huge and it’s all okay.
"It has no reflection on your bond and motherhood. A bond is something that grows as you get to know each other. This is a little person that you need to get to know.
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"Another myth is that the transition into motherhood is an effortless and easy one; that we just seamlessly go from womanhood to motherhood. It’s often anything but seamless. It’s a transition... and like any major life change, it’s not going to be without its struggles. It’s a completely different way of being.
"It’s about honouring that and acknowledging that it can be a bit of a bumpy journey," Fran says.
Paint Your Bump
Painting your bump is an experience for mothers to celebrate their pregnancy. Not only is the process creative, but it gives women an opportunity to think about their maternal mental health and how they nurture it.
"We encourage mothers to paint their bumps on World Maternal Mental Health Day each year," say Fran and Elva, "and post their bumps on social media with the hashtag #pyb2019".
"We hope to prompt a national conversation about what many women may face during the transition to motherhood; with the aim to promote and encourage support and self?care for maternal mental health and wellness".
At the events
The events are designed to be fun, warm and welcoming. What's more, they are hosted by amazing women on a voluntary basis.
With bump-painting events being held all over Ireland (including Donegal, Sligo, Galway, Cork, Dublin, Meath and Wicklow), you're sure to find a location near you.
Not only that, if you have other children, they are more than welcome to come with you while your bump is being painted. It’s a great way to prepare an older child for the new arrival.
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"I hope our campaign will help women feel less alone on their journey to motherhood and create a mindset amongst all mums that self-care is important on this (often challenging) transition to motherhood and beyond," says Fran.
Elva adds, "It's also important that mothers have access to a list of support services if they need it, which is available on our website".
For more information about the times and locations of these Paint Your Bump events, visit PaintYourBump/events on Facebook.
Top photo: Unsplash
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