New project explores better ways to care for mothers’ psychological well-being

New moms can access free online self-care resources to help them cope with the challenges of motherhood, as part of an ongoing study by the University of Queensland.

The program explores better ways to care for mothers’ psychological well-being, particularly by supporting mothers in coping with difficult thoughts and feelings about childbirth and early feeding experiences.

UQs Faculty of Medicine researcher and clinical psychologist dr. Koa Whittingham is coordinating the next phase of the project with Master of Clinical Psychology student Laynee Brophy.

“Motherhood can be a difficult and intense time as new mothers learn to adapt and cope, and these online resources, accessible at home, address so many of the issues they face,” said Dr Whittingham.

“The team is eager to build on our previous research on self-compassion, and we are now looking for new resources that focus on self-care through meaningful living.

“This means having a strong sense of what really matters to you personally and finding ways to put that into action.

“A meaningful life can include the big things, like the most important parenting choices, as well as small everyday details like remembering to put on your favorite music or going for a walk in the park.

“To make the survey representative, we would like to hear from all mothers, whether they have problems or not.”

All participants will complete two online surveys, spaced eight weeks apart, allowing the researchers to determine exactly how the drugs affect maternal well-being.

Participants will receive SMS reminders to help them make the most of the resources, which will be accessed multiple times during the study and six months after completion.

This study builds on an earlier Research study across Australia found simple online resources that promote self-compassion are making a positive difference to mothers of babies.

dr. Amy Mitchell from UQ’s School of Psychology and Griffith University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery said mothers from previous studies reported fewer depressive and traumatic symptoms in the two years after their baby was born.

Importantly, mothers also found it easier to accept compassion from those around them, as well as show compassion for themselves in small ways.

We know that moms tend to put themselves last and feel like they have to go it alone, and that just doesn’t work.”

dr. Amy Mitchell of UQ’s School of Psychology and Griffith University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery

After registering and completing an online survey, participants have a 50 percent chance of being randomly assigned to access the online resources immediately.

The other participants will have access to the resources after eight weeks.

Entrants must be over 18 years old, live in Australia or New Zealand and have given birth within the last two years.


The University of Queensland

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