Motherhood and Mental Health

By: Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA

Hey Mama, 


There’s something I wanna talk to you about today. I’m going to preface what I’m about to share by saying that I know this is not an easy or comfortable topic to discuss, but it is incredibly necessary. There are too many Mamas that are struggling in silence and it’s time for that to stop - today, right now.


September is Suicide Awareness Month.


According to the Public Health Agency of Canada:

  • Approx. 11 people die by suicide each day
  • Approx. 4,000 deaths by suicide per year
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults (15-34 years)
  • 1/3 of deaths by suicide are among people 45-59 years
  • 3.1% report having made a suicide attempt in their lifetime
  • Suicide attempts are approx. 3X higher among people born in Canada than immigrants to Canada


I am a part of that 3.1% of the population who has attempted suicide. I am a suicide attempt survivor.


Mental health and emotional well-being are topics that are near and dear to my heart because it is a daily lived experience that I have navigated through for several years. It will probably be the proverbial hill that I die on, because despite the fact that mental health is now a mainstream topic, there is still so much work to do - ESPECIALLY in the Black community. 


As a first generation Black Canadian woman from an immigrant family, I know all too well the difficulties of straddling both worlds, attempting to reconcile cultural differences and figure out where / how I fit in, and what that looks like. Explaining mental health to my family members who were unable to appreciate the severity of its magnitude, has been no walk in the park.


The adage, “it takes a village to raise a child” rings true both historically and now; however, given the current state of the world, it has been that much more challenging to receive that in-person communal support that is critical for the well-being of both Mama and baby. Motherhood outside of the pandemic was laborious enough. As a new mom, you have to contend with the physical, mental, physical and emotional changes that take place after carrying a life for 9 months and bringing your baby earth-side. Oftentimes, moms face sleep deprivation, and postpartum anxiety and / or depression. Combine those factors with the isolation and uncertainty of the current state of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the uprisings happening worldwide in response to the continuous onslaught against our Black brothers and sisters as a by-product of anti-black racism, the social and political unrest, and Mother Nature responding to housing it all. 


A study from the University of Calgary revealed that “the COVID-19 pandemic is causing higher rates of depression and anxiety among new and expectant mothers.” Psychology associate professor Lianne Tomfohr-Madsen, one of the study’s co-authors, shared that “[t]he rates are massively, massively elevated.” Back in April, from “a sample size of 2,000 pregnant women in Canada, about 37 percent reported symptoms of depression and 57 per cent reported symptoms of anxiety”. Prior to the pandemic, “10 to 25 percent of pregnant women show[ed] similar mental health systems.”


All things considered, our mental health is bound to be adversely impacted. From witnessing the public deaths of various Black bodies contributing to the collective trauma, grieving, mourning and everything else in between, not to mention contending with our own personal traumas - mental health support is needed now more than ever; it is crucial to our survival.


If you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone. If you have contemplated committing suicide, you are not broken or wrong or bad. In fact, “11.8% of Canadians have reported thoughts of suicide in their lifetime.” Please release any shame or guilt that may be accompanying your thoughts. Instead, forgive yourself. Give yourself the grace and space.  Be compassionate with yourself as there is A LOT happening in the world right now.


I believe that the degree to which we are able to navigate through this unprecedented time will be contingent upon the level of access we have to the appropriate tools, resources, and support. With that being said, Mama, I IMPLORE  you, please DO NOT hesitate to reach out for the support that you need. I know what it is to feel isolated, alone, worthless, undeserving, broken, like no one would care and that ending my life was the only way to make all the pain stop. It’s not true, none of it is true. If this resonates with you, please know that there IS hope, you can get the help you deserve. YOU are important. YOUR life matters. YOU matter. 


If you are in need of IMMEDIATE assistance, please call 9-1-1 or visit the emergency room at the nearest hospital.


Resources:


Nicki Reid, Bilingual BA

Certified Transformational Coach | Certified Essential Oil Specialist |

Certified ARōMATOUCH Practitioner | 200 YTT , Wholesome Mind Health Coaching