We Need More Accessible Therapy
If mental health is so important in motherhood (and spoiler alert: it is), then therapy needs to be accessible.
But in a country where maternal care is rapidly declining, prioritizing the accessibility of therapy for mothers is essential.
We tell moms they don’t have to do it on their own. We say that it’s okay to not be okay and tell mothers to ask for help. To take postpartum depression and anxiety seriously, and to practice self-care, and to rely on the village.
We tell moms what their babies really need is a happy, healthy mom.
And then it is nearly impossible for moms to actually get mental health help when they need it.
There are obstacles at nearly every turn:
1- Therapists are overbooked and in many areas, waitlists are months long.
2- Therapy is expensive, insurance can be extremely difficult to navigate, and sometimes it is unaffordable altogether. (And the programs that offer financial assistance are booked… see #1.)
3- In the US, mothers are only checked by their OB for postpartum depression and anxiety once at 6 weeks postpartum. (This is despite the fact that 6-9 months postpartum is the peak timeframe in maternal death by suicide.) The survey is a one-page questionnaire, no conversation or further care required.
4-Corporate America does not make it easy or possible for moms to leave during the day to make it to therapy appointments.
5-Childcare is not affordable or available to most, so stay-at-home moms are not easily able to make it to therapy appointments (and teletherapy is even harder to get… see #1).
Despite all of these obstacles (and more), therapy is extremely beneficial and a necessary option for many mothers.
Therapy empowers moms, reminds them that they are not alone, helps them to heal, and offers moms tools to be the best versions of themselves as they raise their little ones.
It is mentally taxing to be the primary caregiver for another human being who relies entirely on you. Even more so in a society without structural support for mothers (see: lack of paid family leave, comparatively high maternal death rates, unaffordable childcare, etc.).
One thing moms really need is their mental health, and making therapy accessible to them is a good place to start.