Social Media

back

Mother’s Day Reflections: Navigating Motherhood and Mental Health Challenges

Family LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life
WellnessPost Category - WellnessWellness

“Sometimes Stressed and Depressed, Always Blessed”: Mama Sumaiyah Mohamed reflects on mental health challenges, motherhood, and the power of positive thinking

Throughout the month of May in honor of Mother’s Day, mamas in Singapore will reflect on unique aspects of their motherhood journeys. Today we hear from Singaporean mama Sumaiyah Mohamed, who has bravely shared her own struggles with mental illness to combat social stigmas. Sumaiyah now works as programme coordinator for Club HEAL, a charity that helps people with mental health challenges improve their lives. She is also the mother to a beautiful 2-year-old daughter, and talks about how motherhood has given her new reason to live and fight, even while presenting new challenges.

Laila – Light of My Life

Our daughter, Laila Nusayba, is the light of our lives, as my husband beautifully puts it, and she is. She certainly brightens up any room with her adorable smile. Her laugh makes my heart sing and is my favourite sound. The thought of snuggling with her in bed at home keeps me going through a long day at work. Being a mother to Laila is truly a dream.

Mental Health Challenges & Me

Life has not always been a bed of roses. I struggle with mental health challenges, having been diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression at the age of nineteen. I have been well for the most part, after getting through that terrible first episode of psychosis, much thanks to the love from my parents, and later husband, and other big pillars of support in my family and friends, and also through connecting to a Higher Power.

Read More: Guide to Counselling & Support Services in Singapore

However, I consider myself ‘in recovery’ rather than ‘recovered’, as I still experience bouts of low mood, low self-esteem, crying spells, and other unpleasant symptoms. The person I am has irrevocably changed. While I may not be the confident, gung-ho go-getter I once was, I am softer, and I really try to take time to appreciate my loved ones. There is a rediscovery of the person I am now, one more authentic, more attuned to the people I care about around me. I’m excited about the path that I am now on, as a certified peer support specialist; that is, someone who walks with others on their journey to recovery from mental health challenges. I feel there are wisdom and blessings behind the challenges.

sumaiyah mohamed mother's day reflections

Count Blessings… and Never Compare!

As a full-time working mother, I receive guidance from my own loving mother, who delights in her granddaughter; a hands-on, loving husband excited to be a father; my own father — ever-ready to play with his granddaughter and feed her healthy fruits; lots of help from my domestic helper; and the assistance of my brothers, who are fun uncles.

We have our whole kampung that is bringing Laila up together, and I am so very grateful for this. This makes motherhood easier for me, but sometimes I feel bad that I am not the Super Mom that does everything herself, like some mothers I see on social media – who manage to work, clean, cook, and also raise beautiful kids — WOW!

An important lesson I have learned from a mentor at work that I have kept close to me is to Avoid the 3 Coms!:

Never complain, never compare and never compete! Thus, I remind myself that while these wonderful mothers are certainly doing great, I have to be content and grateful for my own strengths as a person and as a mother, yet also still strive to better myself in ways I can.

SHOO ANTs Away!

“I am not a good mother.”
“I am a boring mother.”
“I am a useless mother.”

These are some of the painful thoughts that plague me. I have confided this to a good friend of mine, a true sister, and she tells me, “They sound like “ANTs”! Let’s shoo them away!” ANTs are Automatic Negative Thoughts – the best thing to do is to take deep breaths, identify the negative thoughts and replace them with positive, more accurate statements.

For example, from the three statements above, I am labelling myself (bad, boring and useless) and I am using all-or-nothing thinking (I am a totally useless and bad mother). I have to channel my energy into using positive self-talk to tell myself that these statements are not true at all. I have to find evidence to fight these thoughts. An example would be, “There is no such thing as a bad mother. All mothers love their children and want the best for them. They try their best in their own ways.”

This includes me too! I have my own strengths as a mother. I spend time with Laila when I get home from work and I put her to bed. On the weekends, I will try my best to bring her out for a walk or play. I am the best mother I can be for Laila. This is done through journaling. I feel much better after getting these thoughts out of my system and then countering them with positivity.

I Choose Hope

Ultimately, being a mother is something I deeply treasure, and while some days I don’t feel as good as I wish to be… I choose to trust in God, I choose to have hope in my strengths, and I choose the love for my daughter and my life.

Read more: Guide to Postpartum Depression Resources in Singapore

more sassy mama

What's New

We're social
WE BELIEVE WORKING PARENTS MAKE GREAT PARENTS. A 2015 Harvard Business School study of girls with working moms in 24 countries across the globe found that they grew up to have more successful careers themselves. And another HBS study found in 2018 that kids with two working parents grew up to be *just* as happy as kids with a stay-at-home parent. In short: if working makes you happy, mama, do it! And let go of the #momguilt, because a happy and fulfilled mama = happy kids. Of course, having the flexibility to work near your kids - and for them to see you on the job - has benefits for everybody; whether you're nursing your baby or telling each other about your mornings, we're grateful for a family-friendly co-working space like @trehausco. - Kate McFarlane, Senior Editor⠀
📷 @irinanilssonphotography
#WeAreTrehaus #WorkLearnPlay⠀
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
⠀
⠀
#sassymamasg #sosassy #momlife #workingmom #motherhood #mommylife #parenthood #momsofinstagram #momlifeisbestlife #workingparents #kidspiration #letthembelittle #letthekids #simplychildren #pixel_kids #igkiddies #magicofchildhood #cutekidsclub #candidchildhood #childhoodunplugged #kidsplay #kidsmood #kidsgram #childrenof_instagram #childrenofinstagram⠀
⠀
⠀
WE BELIEVE IN TEACHING TEAMWORK. Our world and our future are highly unpredictable. Technology is advancing so rapidly that we don't know what our world will look like in ten years let alone 20 years. Our children will also face dramatic environmental and political changes. So how do we prepare them for such an unpredictable future? #Teamwork. Learning to work as part of a team helps develop many social skills such as communication, empathy, patience, tolerance and collaboration. These are the skills that our children will need more than any others. - Emilie De Cannart, Managing Director, Sassy Media Group⠀
📸 @irinanilssonphotography ⠀
#WeAreTrehaus #WorkLearnPlay @trehausco
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
⠀
⠀
#sassymamasg #sosassy #momlife #workingmom #motherhood #mommylife #parenthood #momsofinstagram #momlifeisbestlife #mommyhood #kidspiration #designforkids #letthembelittle #letthekids #simplychildren #pixel_kids #igkiddies #magicofchildhood #cutekidsclub #candidchildhood #childhoodunplugged #kidsplay #kidsgram #kidsactivities #siblinggoals #siblingsquad #siblingtime⠀
⠀
⠀
Keeping an open dialogue with your little ones about cultural diversity is crucial to a harmonious tomorrow. Today is World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development so it's a great opportunity to introduce your children to our round up of books that teach kids to embrace their diversity in a mixed race family. #linkinbio has our top 5 picks!⠀
📸 @lovelens_rnd⠀
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
#sassymamasg #sosassy #WorldDayforCulturalDiversityforDialogueandDevelopment #diversityday #unitednations #diversity #promotediversity #momlife #momquotes #motherhood #mommylife #parenthood #momsofinstagram #momlifeisbestlife #mommyhood #blendedfamily #biracial
Have you caught your self yelling at your children? We have all been guilty of this and it has not been our finest moment. Would you like to learn how to be a calm and collected parent? This long weekend would be a good time to practice 😀 Our #linkinbio has the details from @respectfulmom.
📸 @tippytapp
.
.
.
.
.
#sosassy #sassymamasg #parenting #momlife #motherhood #childrenof_instagram #momentsoflove #mommylife #momsofinstagram #momlifeisbestlife #mommyhood⁣
Congratulations to Elise of @taxibabyco on the birth of baby #3! We are lovin' the cuddles and giggles. Ever wonder what it's like to bump up to #3? #linkinbio for some inspiration! ⠀
📸 @juleswhale⠀
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
.⠀
⠀
⠀
#sassymamasg #sosassy #momlife #momquotes #motherhood #mommylife #parenthood #momsofinstagram #momlifeisbestlife #mommyhood #baby3 #familyof5⠀
How beautiful is our #littlereddot! Where is this weekend taking you? Check out our #weekendplanner for some ideas and don't forget to tag us when you capture your memories 📷
#linkinbio
📸 @amebeverly⁣⠀
.⁣⠀
.⁣⠀
.⁣⠀
.⁣⠀
.⁣⠀
#sosassy #sassymamasg #singapore #visitsingapore #littlereddot #singapore_insta #singaporecity #singaporetravel #singaporeig #discoversingapore #singaporephotography #ilovesingapore
The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you - encourage your helper to acquire new skills as we kick off Education Week. #linkinbio for courses from Baby Massages & First Aid Courses to Martial Arts & Financial Planning!
@aidha.sg @home.migrantworkers @uplifters.community @beautymumsnbabies @welcometothebrightlife @fast.org.sg .
.
.
.
.
#sosassy #sassymamasg #helperappreciationmonth #educationweek #educationquotes #educationmatters #singapore #fdwsingapore #learning

We're social

What we're up to and what inspires us