'We all have limits' - 1 in 5 mums mental health affected after giving birth

Caroline Mugambi with her sons, Sean and Ryan

Caroline Mugambi with her sons, Sean and Ryan - Credit: Home-Start in Suffolk

A Suffolk mum is championing others to not struggle in silence after giving birth, following her own struggles. 

Caroline Mugambi, 39, who was supported by Home-Start in Suffolk now raises awareness among local mums to ask for help if they struggle with their mental health. 

Ms Mugambi, experienced post natal depression after the birth of her second son, who is now six, and has been supported by the charity for two years.

Maternal Mental Health Alliance sproblems in the weeks after giving birth - known as the perinatal period - affect one in five women.

The mum-of-two hopes by sharing her story it will encourage other mums to find the courage during maternal mental health week to look for support if they are finding parenting tough. 

She said: “My cultural background as a black African woman means we don’t speak out about problems and often find ourselves struggling on our own in silence. 

“But I want to say, please don’t shy away from asking. We all have limits, and it’s important to recognise them. If you feel things are tough, ask for help.” 

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Ms Mugambi was matched with a home-visiting volunteer, from Home-Start in Suffolk when she was struggling with postnatal depression.

As she said, “Janet felt like my safe space.” 

Janet, Sean, Caroline and Ryan

Janet, Sean, Caroline and Ryan - Credit: Home-Start in Suffolk

She added: “To me, Home-Start support was like taking the weight off your shoulders for a while, so you can be the parent you want to be. Without Home-Start, I think, I would have fallen into a deep depression. I didn’t and that’s thanks to Janet. I still go to her first to tell her important things.” 

Ms Mugambi’s passion to support other women led her to become a trustee for the charity as a way of saying thank you for helping her when she was going through tough times.   

Caroline Mugambi with her sons, Sean and Ryan

Caroline Mugambi with her sons, Sean and Ryan - Credit: Home-Start in Suffolk

In addition to clinical services, vital peer support is available in Suffolk area through the Home-Start network of confidential, compassionate, fully trained volunteers. 

Tara Spence, CEO of Home-Start in Suffolk, said: “For Maternal Mental Health Week we are encouraging families to talk about their wellbeing and not be afraid to ask for help. There’s still a real stigma around speaking out and saying that parenting is tough. We would love to encourage mums who are finding things difficult to take the brave decision to reach out for support.”