The Trust is raising awareness of mental health support available to local mums during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (3-9 May 2021).
We provide perinatal mental health services to mums across the Trust area who have had or are experiencing severe or complex mental health difficulties during pregnancy or in the first year after they have had their baby.
The following story has kindly been shared with us by a mum who received maternal mental health support from the trust. This story is shared without any names, to protect their anonymity.
Support being a new mum
“I am eternally grateful to have been lucky enough to have such an excellent perinatal mental health nurse. I had weekly appointments either face to face, over Teams or on the telephone.
“It was a difficult time for me the first three months of being a new mum. I also experienced anxiety while pregnant of the birth and how I’d cope being a first time mum. It was so reassuring to have somebody to talk to, and to comfort me in times of distress.”
Reassurance during a lockdown pregnancy and birth
“I felt like I could really trust my perinatal mental health nurse.”
“I was reassured none of my thoughts were unusual. Not many women talk openly about their difficulties of being a mother. So, I had thought that what I was experiencing was abnormal. I felt like I was genuinely cared for, as being a new mother, for me was isolating.
“I was pregnant thought the coronavirus outbreak, and gave birth during lockdown. So I feel as though I missed out on a lot. Such as having my partner attend ultrasound scans and appointments. We missed out on parenting classes and the opportunity to meet other parents, we also had other personal life stressors.
“I personally think it was the most stressful time to have a baby, plus the fact family and friends couldn’t/can’t visit. It all added to the anxieties I had about being a new mum.
“I struggled with reoccurring stress, anxiety and intrusive thoughts. Having someone there to talk to who understands, I couldn’t have been luckier to have access to this service. There are a lot of women who would benefit from this support, I only wish there was enough perinatal mental health nurses like mine to go around everyone.”
Help from the perinatal team
“I had quite a difficult birth, it took me a while to recover. It was helpful having someone there to support me. I feel like my perinatal mental health nurse went above and beyond her duties. Nothing was too much trouble.
“I have a chronic health condition and she assigned me to their occupational therapist who helped me out with some equipment to aid my mobility. Also a nursery nurse who would visit and answer any questions I had about my baby, and helped me out with some items I needed for my baby from ‘bundles of joy’.
“A mentor who would visit and it was great to have someone to talk to about experiences, we’d go on walks and it injected some normality back in my life. It was good having such a positive person to speak to and helped me gain a different outlook on my situation.
“My perinatal mental health nurse fought my corner with my local mental health service that was supposed to be involved due to my underlying mental health conditions. My perinatal nurse made sure they stuck to their promise, she liaised with them and made sure she secured an appointment for me before she signed me off from the perinatal service.
“I don’t think I would have managed to secure myself an appointment with the mental health service without the help from my perinatal nurse. I feel like she really understood me as a person, saw me as an individual with my own thoughts and ideas and respected my opinions. She was easy to talk to and shed some perspective on my concerns and helped bring our family back together when we were experiencing issues.
“We are thankful as a family for all the support and help from the perinatal team.”
About TEWV perinatal health service
GP’s, health visitors and midwives can all refer women to the TEWV perinatal mental health service. Following a referral, if it is decided that the perinatal mental health service is suitable for them, they will be allocated a clinician who will work with them to agree a care plan to help meet their individual needs and find solutions to support them on their road to recovery.
Find out more about TEWV perinatal mental health services