Mamas, R U OK?

Photography:Barefoot Wandering Photography

By Belinda Haan

How is your motherhood journey going? For me, it has been a mixture of highs and lows, sometimes minutes apart. We are often told to ‘enjoy every minute; it goes quickly,’ and yet it can sometimes feel like an uphill battle to make it to the time when we can pour that glass of wine and turn on Netflix.

When I first became a mother, I was surprised by my struggle. I really imagined that I would be a natural earth mother so I was shocked by how different my experience was.

I felt anxious. I was overwhelmed by the weight of responsibility, my unrealistic expectations, and a sense of being woefully unqualified for the most critical job.  

Despite having training in psychology, I could not move past my overwhelm and anxiety. I wondered if I had depression, but I could not relate to the label. I was certainly not thriving and I knew it was time to get some support. 

We are fortunate that we can access discounted or free psychological support through Medicare. I believe it is unfortunate that this support is called a Mental Health Plan for Mental Health Disorders because I passionately believe that all mothers should be able to easily, and without shame or labels, be able to access psychological support. 

Motherhood can be tough. And, I am so grateful for the psychological support I received where I learned resilience skills that I still use today, 10 years on.  

What if we dropped the labels and just made an appointment with a GP to share how we feel and ask for support? What if we didn’t wait until things felt really bad? What if we stopped undervaluing our vital role in our family and took proactive steps to move from surviving to thriving? 

R U OK?Day is an excellent opportunity to check in with your friends, family, and your partner to see how they are going. It is also a great opportunity to check in with you. There are some great resources to support you with this at ruok.org.au

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