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Maternal Mental Health in India

The support & challenges from the family and culture


In a culture where motherhood is the most celebrated role, and has the highest regard, it is astonishing to see the limited studies and services for maternal mental health. 

In India, the the prevalence of pregnancy related common mental disorders (CMDs) is estimated around 22% (Kalra H, et al, 2021)

In India, the maternal wellbeing landscape takes a unique dimension shaped by tradition, societal norms, and modern influences.

 One significant aspect of maternal wellbeing in India is the interplay of tradition and modernity. Traditional values often emphasize the role of the mother as the primary caregiver and nurturer within the family structure. These cultural expectations can influence a woman's sense of identity and purpose, impacting her well-being. It often leads them to blur their personal goals, in relation to the needs and achievements of the child, and the family unit.

On the other hand, there is the growing culture and space where mothers want to sustain, if not further their career. This itself is met with so much conflict, judgment on them as ‘selfish’ mothers, inadequate support services by the workforce, families and often the partners as well. The ‘mom guilt’ and internal struggle of not being there for the child always is omnipresent.

Often, voicing their negative feelings about pregnancy by mothers is met with judgment and scorn. In fact, the women themselves start to doubt and feel guilty about their emotions.

The concept of "maternal instinct" is deeply ingrained in Indian society, with motherhood often viewed as a natural and instinctive role;

“Women naturally know how to care for their baby,from the time they are handed in her arms”.

 This narrative can create a lot of anxiety, self-doubt, shame and a sense of being incapable. 

Child rearing is often a learning process, and something women pick up while parenting and caring for their infant. 

They need empathetic guidance and assurances along the way in caring for the child.

Certain aspects of the culture and traditions are supportive and rather beneficial. Practices such as "Godh Bharai" (baby shower) and "Annaprashan" (first solid food ceremony) have a significance in influencing their sense of maternal identity and strengthening the attachment with their child.

The extended family system prevalent in many Indian households adds another layer of complexity to maternal wellbeing. While it offers support and assistance to new mothers, it can also lead to conflicts and challenges in defining boundaries and autonomy within the family dynamic.

In conclusion, maternal wellbeing in India is a rich tapestry woven from the threads of tradition, culture, and modernism. Understanding the diverse experiences and challenges faced by Indian parents is essential to ensure their well-being and fostering a supportive environment for maternal mental health.

Nowadays, there are services available for maternal mental health in the form of support groups, individual therapy, etc.

Becoming Conscious Beings is one such platform dedicated to work for maternal mental health in India, and supporting parents, especially mothers globally.

Becoming Conscious Beings, being an online mental health and wellbeing platform always strives to provide integrative and holistic therapy services to Children, Parents and Adults through all walks of their life.

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