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  • Sarah Nguyen

An Evolution of Mental Health for Moms : Mental Health through The Stages of Parenthood

Updated: Apr 7

On World Mental Health Awareness Day in October, I took some time to reflect on what Mental health means to me as a parent, as a mom, and how its definition has evolved depending on the age and stage of my children.

As a new parent, a new mom it was simply survival mode. Especially as a mother with PPD and two boys at 14 months apart. I was thrilled to have a few hours of sleep in a row. If I could get outside for a breath of fresh air. Or a visit from a friend. Our brains are wired to forget this time in life and our culture tells us to not talk about it. Especially in today's modern world where there is no village. We are siloed and societal expectations are manufactured to show us a facade of falsified versions of reality plastered all around us.


All of us suffered. You are not alone. Yet somehow we're all here.

We are stronger than we think.

As a mom of growing boys, mental health turned into a mommy escape. For me, mental health looked like everything from happy hours to workouts. My walks created the space for me to hear my own thoughts without the sounds of baby gurgles and incomplete sentences. My happy hours gave me a superficial sense of community that left me emptier than the champagne bottles all over the floor. I would find different ways to escape from my reality, realizing the positive energy was fleeting and my agitation or discomfort would arise again in my body. And I was only present enough to make sure they didn't fall into any body of water and were somewhat aligned on their developmental trackers, painfully learning that boys take longer to reach those same milestones and there's a wide range within.

Once the kids were in elementary school, mental health started to include longer getaways with girlfriends, husband, sister and also with myself. I loved my work trips and begged for more. Having this space offered me the energy or patience to build friendships. Building friendships as a grown adult is a thing. Not only do you have to like the mom. You also want your partner to like the partner and the kids to like the kids. We also care about the family's values and want to make sure we are surrounding ourselves with people we can love and learn from.

And they have to feel the same. It took years.

As I grow older, mental health also intermingles with physical health. I have been poked and probed and contaminated with eons of radiation all over my body. I have received hundreds of medical bills totaling a nearly a hundred thousand dollars. The toll this plays on people and parents and the sandwich generation is not small. With the improvement of technology, preventative health is a real opportunity. But the system currently operates in ways that are frustrating, expensive and demanding. The time in between appointments is getting longer and the stress grows stronger. The unknown feels unbearable and the information is slim. I have no doubt, that unless this changes, this will continue to get in the way of America's growing mental health crisis.

We are nearly through elementary school and mental health means being present in the moment. We've finally found our stride. Mental health looks like Art at your fingertips in the boys' classrooms, combining my love of art and the school's need for volunteers. It looks like weekend escapes with my husband where we re-connect on a human level. Finding incredible food on our road trips to soccer and baseball tournaments. It looks like running and sound baths and trying new things with friends who bring day-old opened champagne over because they know none of that matters. It means connecting my values with the needs of myself, my family, community and workplace. As far as physical health, I am more attuned with my body and the voices in my head as I realize that's all I can do.

Mental health often means turning off the news and exploring my axis of influence. Creating space with my children, my colleagues, and my people to connect on world events, hoping to create connection and conversation in our siloed world. We polarized as people, each of us identifying with our belief systems so strongly that we lose curiosity towards each other. What happens when we take a step back and see each other as humans. When we look beyond the history and issues and pause to see the atrocities we are creating for ourselves in this modern world? What happens when we start to see through these things by which we label ourselves and treat each other with the same respect we would our families. It's so unbelievably complicated and it's so incredibly simple if we stay present beyond our egos.

It took time, intention, and effort to build the life we want. At each stage, we continue to dig deeper into who we are as individuals and as a family and what we want to bring into our lives. First, we had to get back to baseline to meet our basic needs as individuals and as a family. Now we are able to continue to evolve as our definition of mental health will evolve through life's ages and stages. We are in the exciting space of living beyond baseline.

My name is Sarah, and, as an empathetic mother who suffered, I find the greatest joy in helping others re-discover their purpose and meaning. To re-align with who they are despite their conditioning, despite their current situation. I have found success working with parents and leaders at all levels and building teams,with the goal of improving the well-being of people, one human at a time.












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