A new project studies better ways to take care of the psychological well-being of mothers
New mums can access free online self-care resources to help them cope with the challenges of motherhood, part of an ongoing research trial by the University of Queensland.
The program investigates better ways to care for the psychological well-being of mothers, particularly by helping mothers cope with difficult thoughts and feelings about their childbirth and early feeding experiences.
UQ Researcher at the Faculty of Medicine and clinical psychologist Dr. Koa Whittingham is coordinating the next stage of the project with Laynee Brophy, a master’s student in clinical psychology.
“Motherhood can be a difficult and intense time as new moms learn to adapt and cope, and these online resources, accessible at home, tackle many of the issues they face,” said Dr Whittingham.
“The team is keen to build on our previous research on self-compassion, and we are now looking to test new resources that focus on self-care through living meaningfully.
“It means getting a clear idea of what really matters to you personally and finding ways to translate that into action.
“Meaningful living can include the big things like basic parenting choices, as well as the little everyday details like remembering to put on your favorite music or go for a walk in the park.
“For the research to be representative, we would like to hear from all mothers, whether they are struggling or not.”
All participants will complete two online surveys, eight weeks apart, allowing researchers to determine exactly what effect the resources are having on mothers’ well-being.
Participants will receive text message reminders to help them make the most of the resources which can be accessed multiple times throughout the study and six months after its conclusion.
This study builds on a previous An Australia-wide research trial that showed simple online resources promoting self-compassion make a positive difference for mothers of babies.
Dr. Amy Mitchell of UQ School of Psychology and Griffith University School of Nursing and Midwifery said mothers in previous trials reported fewer depressive and traumatic symptoms in the two years following the birth of their babies.
Importantly, mothers also found it easier to accept compassion from people around them, as well as to show compassion for themselves in small ways.
We know moms tend to put themselves last and feel like they have to struggle on their own and that just doesn’t work.”
Dr. Amy Mitchell of UQ School of Psychology and Griffith University School of Nursing and Midwifery
After registering and completing an online survey, participants will have a 50% chance of being randomly selected to receive immediate access to online resources.
Other participants will have access to the resources after eight weeks.
Entrants must be over 18, live in Australia or New Zealand and have given birth within the last two years.