It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, but recent studies, as well as the report on the tragic death of a mother and her newborn (New mums need more help to cope with stress, says coroner; May 10), have shown that it also takes a community to care for mothers.
A study by Arizona State Universityshowed that four key factors keep mothers psychologically healthy and, therefore, better able to manage child rearing and child development tasks: unconditional acceptance, receiving support and comfort, authenticity in relationships, and friendship satisfaction.
Essentially, mothers benefit from having a strong and supportive social network. All of us can play a part in offering such support, regardless of our marital status or whether we have children.
The quality of a marriage is related to a mum's psychological well-being. A woman who enjoys greater emotional intimacy with her husband will be in a better position to care for her child. Maintaining a strong and healthy marital bond entails that the couple prioritise the marriage and do all they can to stay emotionally connected.
Fathers who put in the effort to strengthen the marriage and play an active role in sharing parenting responsibilities will contribute greatly to the well-being of the mother.
Thankfully, we are seeing more involved fathers here. More fathers apply for government-paid paternity leave each year and show up at parent-teacher meetings.
More involved fathering makes parenting a less lonely affair for mothers, and the entire family, as well as society, reaps the benefits.
Let us consider the many challenges that mothers face today, and decide what each of us can do to provide more support to mothers in our community.
Elvira Tan (Ms)
Family Life Specialist
Focus on the Family Singapore