Leeds mum speaks out about pressure to be perfect parent

Leeds mum Sarah Sturdy gave birth two months prematurely. The traumatic experience made it difficult for her to bond with her son Harrison and left her feeling depressed and anxious. Sarah is speaking out about her experiences of mental health difficulties during pregnancy, and after birth, in a bid to encourage other parents to get support if they are struggling.
22nd June 2017.
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
Leeds mum Sarah Sturdy gave birth two months prematurely. The traumatic experience made it difficult for her to bond with her son Harrison and left her feeling depressed and anxious. Sarah is speaking out about her experiences of mental health difficulties during pregnancy, and after birth, in a bid to encourage other parents to get support if they are struggling. 22nd June 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Pregnancy and childbirth takes its toll on mothers physically, but the experience can have an emotional impact, too.

Leeds mum Sarah Sturdy gave birth two months prematurely.

The traumatic experience made it difficult for to bond with her son Harrison and left her feeling depressed and anxious.

Today, Sarah is speaking out about her experiences of mental health difficulties during pregnancy, and after birth, in a bid to encourage other parents to get support if they are struggling.

The 33-year-old, from Roundhay, said: “I was already 11 weeks pregnant when I found out I was going to be a mum and I felt under pressure from the start. I was so excited at first.

“But then I started worrying and asking myself lots of questions. Will I cope? Will I be a perfect mum or will I fail? I had experienced depression in the past and I was scared my baby might be taken away if people thought I couldn’t cope.”

Her son Harrison is now almost two years old. Sarah says the premature birth was traumatic for her, and it led to the pair staying in hospital for nearly a month.

But she says the support from staff in and out of hospital took the pressure off.

“It can be a very lonely, frightening place but the most important thing to do is talk open up to those around you - your doctor, midwife, health visitor, or a friend or family member,” she said.

“Having mental health problems such as depression or anxiety doesn’t make you a bad parent, and, with the right support, you can get better.”

Visit www.mindwell-leeds.org.uk/baby for more information support available.

The Yep launched our #SpeakYourMind campaign to raise awareness, and tackle stigma surrounding mental health issues in the city.

Since our launch week in October, we have called on people across Leeds to share their stories and experiences with mental health.

Our campaign has been backed by the Prime Minister Theresa May, who praised YEP readers for bravely sharing their experiences.

And it has also been supported by Princes Harry and William, who have been spearheading the royal Heads Together anti-stigma campaign. Follow our campaign using the hashtag #SpeakYourMind

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