April 30 – May 4, 2018, organizations around the US are breaking the myths of motherhood with the inaugural Maternal Mental Health Week, created by The Blue Dot Project.
Getting real about motherhood is healthy for everyone, especially the 1 in 5 women who will suffer from a maternal mental health (MMH) disorder like postpartum depression. For many women, there are unspoken and spoken ideals of motherhood, unrealistic myths, that crowd the mind and keep women judging themselves through an unrealistic lens.
This is especially true for NICU moms.
According to a 2014 study published by the International Journal of Women’s Health, mothers of premature infants are 40% more likely to develop postpartum depression (PPD), compared with the general population. Further literature reports that these women have consistently higher rates of PPD, ranging from 28%–70%, compared with mothers of healthy term infants outside of the NICU.1
Many women suffering from a maternal mental health disorder may choose to suffer silently, assuming there must be something terribly wrong with them for feeling something so different than the unspoken expectations they have set for themselves.
We’re partnering with The Blue Dot Project and 2020 Mom to raise awareness of maternal mental health disorders, combat stigma and shame and proliferate the blue dot as the symbol of solidarity and support.
Common Motherhood Myths
NICU moms struggle with feelings of shame and guilt, sometimes even long after they’ve left the NICU. Some common motherhood myths for all moms are:
- To be a good mom you have to love being a mom all the time.
- Moms never need help.
- I wasn’t a good mom, because I couldn’t breastfeed.
- I am not a good mom because my baby’s birth didn’t go well – or my body failed.
- I had to go back to work too early and that makes me a bad mom.
- I had to take an antidepressant after I had my baby and that makes me a bad mom.
- And the biggest myth of all, “Other mothers are better moms because they look like they have it all together.”
Join us in #RealMotherhood
Let’s banish these myths and feelings of shame this week. Here’s how you can participate:
- Take part in the #RealMotherhood 5-Day Challenge. Update your social media channels with photos and posts that show the real face of motherhood and. Images can be light-hearted or serious. They can be of meds you had to get on, dirty dishes overflowing out of your sink, going to work with baby vomit on your shirt, or stretched mark skin. Tag your posts with #RealMotherhood, The Blue Dot Project and Hand to Hold so we can cheer you on!
- Add this Twibbon to your social media profile pictures.
- Follow The Blue Dot Project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for daily posts and updates.
- Follow Hand to Hold on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for posts and updates from our community.
1 Tahirkheli, Noor N. “Postpartum Depression on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Current Perspectives.” International Journal of Women’s Health, Dove Medical Press, 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4247145/.