"We mothers tend to put ourselves last. Self-care is so important."
While women are being more and more honest about the difficulties of parenthood, many mothers still feel they can’t talk about it. These women want to change that.
Paint Your Bump Day is the brainchild of psychotherapists Elva Glynn and Fran Buckley – Fran is mother to a two-year-old daughter and currently pregnant with her second child.
She says the idea for the day came from her experience with her first pregnancy, and the “shock of motherhood” that followed.
After I had my daughter, there was this shock of motherhood – I thought, why didn’t anyone tell me about this? I didn’t have post-natal depression, I didn’t have mental illness… but it was a shocker.
Fran now wants to dispel the myth that all women make a ‘seamless transition’ into motherhood, and provide support for women who feel they can’t talk about these feelings without judgement.
“I want to bring [maternal mental health] awareness from the moment a woman finds out she’s pregnant,” she says. “A lot of women may think they are the only ones feeling the way they do, and there is often a sense of isolation. Becoming a mother is a big life transition.”
So why should you paint your bump? Well, as Fran puts it, it’s a way of thanking your body for nurturing a baby, and a nice momento of your pregnancy.
“I painted my own bump towards the end of my first pregnancy, and for me it was like preparing myself for the beginning of something new – a new life, essentially,” Fran says.
She’s organised three events around Ireland where women can come and have their bumps painted – but she’s also encouraging women to do it at home and post the result to social media with the hashtag #PYB18.
It’s something lovely to do for yourself. We’re planting a seed that maternal mental health actually matters, and we need to mind ourselves. Self-care is so important. We tend to put ourselves last, and the key behind this is changing that.
Paint Your Bump Day falls on May 2, the day before World Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day – and Fran hopes it will inspire mums-to-be to open up to their loved ones and each other about the pressures of motherhood.
“A happy mum will equal happy children,” she says, and amen to that.
Visit the Paint Your Bump Facebook page for more information on the events.
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