Parental Mental Health

Over forty years have passed since my friends and I initiated a radical societal concept. We wanted to support new families in our community. We were feminists and social activists. That meant we believed men and women shared equally in the conception, birthing and raising of our children. We established a postpartum parent support network that has sustained itself since July 1, 1977.

During the 1980s my focus became centered on maternal mental health. I learned about mental health related to childbearing. While the research continues to emphasize the woman I don’t believe this is a women’s issue. It is time to use the word parent, rather than mother. My latest edition of I’m Listening—A Guide to Supporting Postpartum Families brings men into the equation. I prefer the term “parental mental health.”

It is my hope that we will switch our language to be more inclusive. Families and our communities will be healthier if we focus on the mental wellness of all parents.

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