Mumstalk was established in February 2012, to provide professional psychological support services to mothers, as they adapt to their changed circumstances through the transition to motherhood. The aim of the service is to promote optimum mental health amoung mothers at this vulnerable and often trying time.
Too often mothers are divided into two broad categories post natally - the happy Mum who is overjoyed with her changed circumstances and confident in her parenting ability, and the post natally depressed Mum who is judged to be unable to cope with motherhood. Research shows that these broad categories are simplistic in nature, leaving huge swaiths of mothers who fall between the two, and who are afraid to express any negative thoughts or feelings that they may be experiencing, alongside the positive ones. Due to the lack of discourse or awareness of common thoughts and feelings that are experienced by many mothers and therefore are a normal part of the new experience,(eg thoughts of harming their infant) these women suffer in silence believing that they are abnormal. This is mainly due to cultural expectation and judgement on their competency in the maternal role. This pressure is also seen to be a major factor in the under reporting of post natal depression which is estimated to be at 13 to 15% of mothers. It is also estimated that at least 40% of cases of post natal depression go unrecognised and unreported.
Mothering in modern western society has become fraught with anxiety. Everyday through the press, media, internet and publishing industry, women are bombarded with didactic theories and advice (often contradictory) on how they should mother and how they should feel, generating fear, anxiety, and guilt in women and hammering their sense of self efficacy and competence.
We at Mumstalk believe that each mother child relationship is unique in nature, and what may suit one mother may not be in the best interests of another. Through our various psychoeducation courses and support groups we aim to to supply women with the knowledge and help they need to reach and stand over their own personal choices and decisions when it comes to mothering. Women report that they were taken by surprise by the lack of psychological and emotional preparation for how they felt in the post birth period, and that through their pregnancy they did not really think beyond the birth.
In most quantative research studies women also report feeling a lack of social support at a time when they are both physically and emotionally vulnerable. This often leads to a sense of deep isolation. The provision of support groups which provide a safe, open and honest facilitated environment, where women are free to express the totality of what they are experiencing, is seen to be the most effective means of dispelling this sense of isolation, and providing them with a social support network.