Perinatal mental health during covid-19

We know that anxiety can run high during pregnancy, and in the first year after birth… and this is likely to be even more true at the moment.

Feelings of uncertainty are often significant psychological triggers for anxiety. Our research has shown that even under ‘normal’ circumstances, this is the case for perinatal anxiety too – with many mums and mums-to-be saying they feel anxious about the unknowns of pregnancy and motherhood. For example, not knowing how the birth is going to go, and feeling uncertain or unprepared for common aspects of motherhood (such as changing nappies, holding babies correctly, or feeding). So, adding in all the uncertainty around Coronavirus on top of this, is only going to make things more challenging. If you are feeling really anxious right now, remember to be kind to yourself. In many respects, this is a totally normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

If uncertainty is really getting to you – try to focus on the things you can control, such as what you do, who you speak to and where you get information from. Visit our pages on Managing Uncertainty for more information.

Wellbeing tips for the pandemic

Below, we have put together some suggestions to help you cope with anxiety at this time.

How we are looking after our mental health during this time

Here’s a quick word from one of the site authors:

“The COVID situation has been triggering for my anxiety as it has rekindled familiar anxiety feelings of being unsafe and concerned about my family’s health. I have been somewhat irritable (my husband might say this is a serious understatement! lol) which I think is largely due to worrying about the kids and not having any space or time away from them and my husband (as much as I love them). I normally manage my mental health through exercise like swimming and yoga, so I have been trying to find alternative ways to do this. I’m blessed to have great family and friends who keep in touch through virtual means now (we celebrated my husband’s birthday using HouseParty). I limit my news and social media intake to once per day and have been using the relaxation self-help on this site.

Managing my kids’ mental health has been challenging too. My son is anxious, and I have a 3-year-old who doesn’t sit still, has meltdowns about everything and desperately misses her grandparents. We have been doing the Joe Wicks PE workout every morning and have not missed a session – well apart from my husband, who did his knee in 3 weeks ago while doing the workout! Things have started to level out – at week 4 of lockdown there came a sort of acceptance of the situation and much reduced anxiety.

Now in week 6, like many of you, I’m exhausted, fed-up and missing my loved ones, but so grateful for health and each other. We have a new “normal” routine – which is still in trial and error. There is no right or wrong way to get through this. I have found for myself that I needed to move from an attitude of wishing this time away and getting back to normal to being grateful for every moment. I’ve not got this sorted out – but trying to be forgiving of myself and let the small stuff go helps me.”

Donna

Look after yourself and seek help, if you need it.