Hello everyone! My name’s Dr Chanelle Myrie and I’m a clinical psychologist.
Welcome to the first edition of a series of blog posts that I will be writing for the Young Mum’s Support Network. Today’s topic is focusing on wellbeing.
What Is Well-Being ?
The answer to this question depends on who you ask! Some researchers have said that wellbeing is simply ‘how you are feeling’. One definition that I like breaks wellbeing down into five different areas:
- Self-acceptance – feeling content with yourself and your identity
- Positive relations with others – feeling connected to others in a supportive, nourishing way
- Autonomy – feeling in charge of your life and your actions
- Purpose in life – feeling you have clear ideas and goals for how you spend your time
- Personal growth – feeling that you have time to invest in yourself
Everyone has wellbeing, and wellbeing can change over time. It’s also important to be aware that wellbeing can mean different things to different cultures. So it’s really important to think about what wellbeing means to you, what your personal benchmarks are for looking after your wellbeing.
Well-being and Motherhood
It might seem that talking about looking after your own wellbeing as a mother (particularly as a new mother) seems a total contradiction – motherhood can be a wave of worries about your child, money, and your new identity.
Add on top of that a lack of sleep and a seemingly never-ending list of things to do, your own wellbeing may feel like it’s at the bottom of the pile. Research shows that younger mums do have it tougher, but this is even more reason for young mums to be well supported (and support each other) so that they can reach their full potential.
What Can We Do About Well-being?
So what can we all do to improve our wellbeing? First of all, it’s important to spend some time thinking about what wellbeing means to you – is it self acceptance? Personal growth? Or something completely different? Once you have an idea that connects with you, you could then think about the different ways to get there. This might be things like:
- Making time for your own needs – even if it’s a very small amount of time, protecting some time that is just for you.
- Finding people in the same boat – spending time, whether online or face to face, with people who understand what it is like to be a mum to a small child.
- Talking about difficult times with others – self acceptance might be acknowledging the times where motherhood is tough and being able to say it out loud.
Or any range of other things! One way of seeing motherhood is that it is a series of stages and transitions, highs and lows, good days and challenging ones. Connecting to your wellbeing needs is just one way of giving yourself protection from life’s storms.
In the next edition of the blog, I’m going to be talking about mental health difficulties – what they look like, and how to know when getting some additional support might be useful. But if there is a particular topic or issue you would like covered in these blog posts, do get in touch – you can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org