Suddenly you’re a parent… Your life has changed, but you’re not quite sure how, or for how long…
Then you realise that you have slipped down your priority list…
When I became a first time mum in 2016, I thought that my baby would slot into my current lifestyle with ease. For I had read the books, done the course at the hospital, looked after other people’s children… and in my head… I was going to be a natural!
Oh how naive I was!! I hadn’t anticipated the nocturnal state of affairs that my life would become, or the inability to complete any task that involved the use of two hands! The influx of guests that I felt I had to play the perfect hostess to, and the huge amounts of concealer that I would purchase in an attempt to hide my dark circles!
Whilst my husband was on Paternity leave, it at least gave me some respite to take a shower, or have an hours sleep in between sterilising teets and desperately pumping my milk, but when he returned to work at 10 days postpartum, I found it almost impossible to do anything ‘for me’ , there was many an occasion that my newborn was in my arms whilst I sat on the toilet, or that the kettle which I had boiled several times that morning, never actually got poured. And suddenly, my son stopped his usual 7.30am nap, so a morning shower or chance to do my hair was then slim to none.
PND, anxiety and PTSD affected my life in many ways after the birth of my son, and I’m very lucky that I eventually got the help and support that I needed to make a full recovery! But why did it take 12 months to be given treatment? At first, I believed that the ‘Baby blues’ would go away, and all my friends with babies seemed to be coping brilliantly, so I thought that I would get the hang of it soon enough.
Other than the routine visits with the Health visitor in the first 6 weeks postpartum, I was not asked about my mental health or my wellbeing, all attention was diverted to my baby, and I felt that my own needs or worries were not important. I saw various doctors for my son’s reflux, croup, conjunctivitis, irregular breathing, tonsilitis… each time I would be overwhelmed with worry and fear,I was ashamed that I didn’t stick at breastfeeding, I would ask when he would start sleeping, and cry helplessly. Not once was I asked about my mental health. I asked a doctor if I could be sterilised at 8 weeks postpartum when she inserted my coil. She laughed. Not once was I asked about my mental health. When it finally got too much, and a health visitor spotted my symptoms at 12 months Postpartum, I made the decision to take come counselling, and cut down my hours at work, eventually leading me to give up my career and seek part time employment to focus on my mental health and my son.
I started youtubing my symptoms of PND, and was met with overwhelming responses of empathy, gratitude and understanding. Many men and women contacted me to say thank you for breaking the stigma, and articulating how your mental health could impact on your life. I decided that I wanted to do more to raise awareness, and help break down the taboo.
I conducted a survey with 40 local mums, Staggeringly 61% did NOT have Maternal mental health discussed with them during pregnancy. 66% of Mums said that they would have liked more support. 57% of Mums said that they would have liked more support and awareness on PND and the baby blues. This gave me all that I needed to make a go of ‘Made up Mom’ and start my mission to help others with their wellbeing.
I now run 6 week courses in the Surrey and Hampshire area for mums at any stage of their journey, whether their baby is 6 weeks old or 16 years old, the content is relevant and helpful to all. I wanted to create an ‘all in one’ course that I wish I could’ve had when I had my son, yet could dip into at any stage of my life. So I enlisted the help of some local experts, to offer Pre/Postnatal fitness and nutritional advice, as well as Health visitor and nursery nurse support. I myself have studied Mindfulness, Mental health and Alternative therapies and am a qualified Mindfulness Practitioner.
Over the 6 week course, I help mums feel happier, calmer and more in control, as we cover a wide range of topics and life skills to empower them.
On week 1, all members are presented with a self-help guide, packed with local support facilities for parenting, mental health, and family schemes. This also contains my advice on self care, and a feelings journal to complete throughout the course. Several local businesses have also provided exclusive discount codes for the members to use. The mums also take home a range of self care goodies, from the natural and organic Eden days Body company, and Neal’s yard remedies.
We discuss how to prioritise our life admin, meditation, mindfulness, Self care and how to make time for us around our busy lives, fitness, and parenting support. All mums learn how to complete an aromatherapy facial on themselves, a safe home workout, and invaluable mindfulness techniques that can be used at home alone or with their families or partners.
The feeling that I get from seeing anxious frowns, turn into relieved smiles is incredible. I love helping others, and hearing about the difference in their well-being and family lives long after the course has finished!
If you live in or near Woking, Surrey, then please do contact me to find out more!
And always remember to make time for you! You deserve it!