“You are not alone”: Harrogate mum shares her mental health story to inspire others to seek help.
Jo McGregor suffered post natal depression after all three of her children. After having suicidal thoughts, Jo turned to her GP for help. On Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, Jo is raising awareness of the issue.
In 2011, 36-year-old Jo McGregor from Harrogate suffered with post natal depression (PND) after having her first son, Finley. After her mum raised concerns, Jo sought help from her GP after feeling low, emotional and not herself – coupled with not leaving the house for days. Finley was 9-months old.
Jo went on to have another two boys and each time suffered with forms of PND. Now Jo is sharing her story to raise awareness of the issue and what support networks are out there.
“During my darkest times, I felt alone, I felt like a massive failure. I had suicidal thoughts. Thoughts about harming myself. I also thought my family would be better off without me.
“I didn’t admit that to anyone. I had a misconception that if I admitted how I truly felt, my children would be taken away and I’d be sectioned.
“I couldn’t be further away from the truth.
“The only thing that comes after admitting how you feel is support.”
“As mums, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves that we should be doing all these things – from raising a family and keeping the house clean – being that perfect mum.
“We also think we should be super wholesome, we should be enjoying every minute – and some of it is amazing – but some of it, is very hard. As a new mum or a mum of two or more, it can be stressful. But it’s okay to admit it’s tough at times.
The Maternal Mental Health awareness campaign ran from April 29th to May 3rd.
The idea behind the week is to raise awareness among families, mothers and the general public about how hard motherhood can be. The campaign aims to combat stigma around maternal mental health and encourage mothers to seek help.
With the prevalence of women suffering from maternal mental health disorders like postpartum depression as high as 1 in 5, acknowledging how difficult motherhood can be is critical to both potentially preventing these disorders by helping to set realistic expectations, and in letting women who are suffering know they are not alone.
“I had PND after all three of my children, and regularly share my story and experience on my social media pages as am passionate about awareness and letting women like 9-years-ago-me (when I was first diagnosed) know that they’re not alone.
“There are pathways to access support and that there is life after PND. And by sharing my story I’ve connected with a number of other women who have experienced perinatal mental health conditions too and who are also working to support mum’s who are suffering.”
Currently Jo runs baby classes based on mindfulness – more details can be found on the Baby Mindful Harrogate Facebook pages.
Jo has also organised an event where a panel of mothers will share their experiences of maternal mental health. For more information, please visit the Mamas Talk Facebook page where you can read all about Jo’s positive actions and impact. Jo creates a safe space where you know it is okay not to feel okay.
For more on the awareness week, please visit the Maternal Mental Health awareness week website.
For help with the issues raised, visit:
www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-health/#.XMakcrfTV-EJo McGregor speaks to Stray FM on Maternal Mental Health Awareness week 2
Published by May Norman at 6:36am 29th April 2019. (Updated at 8:49am 29th April 2019)