Why Mothers Matter: Maternal Mental Health Through Self-Care

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and with Mothers Day on the horizon, it's the perfect opportunity to talk about maternal mental health and the importance of self-care.

Pursoma founder and CEO, Shannon Vaughn, is highly attuned to the complex demands that modern mothers face. “A child changes your world,” Vaughn says. Add the pressures of a global pandemic and quarantine to the mix, and you might be left feeling beyond overwhelmed.

If you’re striving to manage your self-care, plus the demands of work and homeschool, know that it may be time to relax expectations. That said, centering your personal wellness practice has never been more important when it comes to maintaining your overall health.

“The point of self-care is not to escape,” says Shannon. “The point is to feel better."

Holding Companies to Higher Standards for Mothers Everywhere

When first developing products for Pursoma, Shannon knew that establishing trust with her customer base was vital. While researching product development guidelines, Shannon realized that, with a lack of comprehensive federal oversight in the cosmetics industry, “You’re really relying on founders to do the right thing and use safe products,” she says. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), “Companies and individuals who manufacture or market cosmetics have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their products. Neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients. The law also does not require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with FDA.” As such, Shannon’s mission lies in creating the purest, safest products possible along with total brand transparency.

Dangerous Ingredients in Your Family's Products

Of particular concern are personal care products that contain potential endocrine disruptors, says Shannon. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), endocrine disruptors, such as BPA and phthalates, can be found in plastic packaging and many personal care products. The ubiquitous term, ‘fragrance’, in mainstream cosmetics may point to phthalates. Tools like EWG’s Skin Deep Database can help women make informed choices when it comes to choosing products, Shannon says.

Maternal Mental Health Through Self-Care

Understanding the intersection between mental and physical well-being is vital to the Pursoma platform. “This isn’t a bubble bath,” Shannon emphasizes. Stressed out moms need practical, effective tools that can help them stay mentally balanced and physically well in the best of times. Now, in the era of COVID-19, quarantined parents are called on to juggle an unprecedented set of stressors.

“Remove the idea that this is supposed to be normal,” suggests Shannon. “Things have changed.” Work-life adaptation for parents is vital amidst interrupted school schedules. Creating new family routines wherever possible can help make quarantine manageable, says Shannon. Rather than just getting through the day in survival mode, "I'd rather get less accomplished and feel more clear,” she says.

Framing self-care as a way to harness “the calm internal energy that's inside of you,” may help moms prioritize time alone, says Shannon. "Carve off 30 minutes of screen time and take a bath,” she says. “It's accessible. It allows you to rest and reset."

Further, it’s important that self-care isn’t one more chore to tick off your to-do list. Women don’t need the added pressure. Instead, remembering that “Self-care is actually about caring for yourself,” with genuine self-love and acceptance, can help reduce feelings of burnout or inadequacy. "Give yourself a break,” Shannon says. "The role of the caregiver isn't going away. You need to take care of yourself."

Pay It Forward to a Mother In Need

In order to further support moms this Mother’s Day, Pursoma is partnering with Every Mother Counts. A global leader in maternal health advocacy, Every Mother Counts is committed to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for women worldwide, especially in countries where access to adequate care is limited. In the era of COVID-19, supporting mothers and their care providers has never been more urgent. Learn more about what you can do to help here

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