MENTAL MUTHA MEETS CHARLOTTE LOUISE TAYLOR
MENTAL MUTHA MEETS CHARLOTTE LOUISE TAYLOR
Are you a mental Mum or a Mum that’s mental?
I think I’m somewhere in between. Sometimes, I think I’m better with kids than Mary Poppins, and some sort of madly successful human, and then the next minute I’m wondering how I survived the day. But I think that’s the way life goes.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?
I try and talk. I try my best. Sometimes, I panic about being repulsive to people. Or being misunderstood. It’s hard to get how you feel across sometimes. I worry so much about being judged, or being a broken record.
My mental health is often triggered. I was diagnosed with PTSD, after my little girl was born with Stickler Syndrome (which I also have) and spent six weeks in NICU, and then came home with a breathing and feeding tube.
I was her carer for six months. And as she slowly needed less help, I realised that I needed it instead. My GP told me it was the ‘fire fighting technique’. In hard times, you fight the fire with all you have, and then when it finally goes out, you are hit with exhaustion and the realisation of what has happened.
I felt overwhelming guilt because she was poorly because of something she inherited from me. And I felt stunned by what had happened, as we were told she was fine when I was pregnant.
Now, I am often triggered by hospitals and my family being threatened in any way. So I have to work really hard to get through those times. Sometimes, when talking doesn’t work, I switch off, and I hide.
Hiding is good I think.
Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?
I do. I try at least. I don’t think I come from a family who has much experience of mental health, so when I realised that I felt the way I did, I was most nervous of telling them. But they have been brilliant. I just didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
I have one local friend in particular who is my saviour. We met when Daisy, my daughter, still had her tubes. Most people would just stare and avoid my gaze, but she was so kind. We met at the school gates. Our sons are best friends. And she’s like an angel to me, though she doesn’t always know it.
Because of my job, I try and use my voice for good, and I will always be open about my good and my bad days. I spent a lot of time making videos for parents just like me, and I am messaged daily about them - it’s a positive to know I have helped someone else by talking.
How do you tackle mental health chats with your kid’s?
I try so hard to make them feel secure and loved. I have a son from a previous relationship, and I am always, always trying to make sure he feels secure and that he sees that his parents are amicable. I think it’s good for him to see that we get on.
I often take him to one side and will ask him how he is - and he comes to me with any worries and concerns. Weirdly - eating around the table as a family is amazing for us, because all four of us talk and chat and find things out we wouldn’t usually.
Daisy is a bit young to have ‘chats’ with yet, but I am particularly focusing on making her realise that she is one bad-ass, amazing female.
Who helps you in the dark? (In your pits, your mental rock bottom - who is your hero?)
Mark - my other half. We met at work and he was a really good friend of mine. When I became a single mum, he was there. He lent me money when I couldn’t pay my bills. He would build up my self-esteem. And when he told me he had feelings for me, I couldn’t believe I was getting that chance again.
He went through all of the heartache with Daisy too. But he worked really hard at being strong for me. He must have found it so tough - it was his first experience of having a baby - and yet he was my absolute rock. He hears me talk about the same struggles over and over again, but he always listens and has never made me feel like I am not enough.
God Charlotte - make everyone feel sick why don’t you...
What helps you in the light? (Meditation? Procrastination? Perspiration? People?)
I love people. I really do. I like being surrounded by silly and happy people who appreciate honesty, gin and banter. I love those days where you spend time with people and you laugh so much that your cheeks hurt and your face feels warm with wine and the general warm-fuzziness of companionship.
I also find getting outside helps a lot. I am not a runner - I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant and it’s just not happening. But sunshine and nature take you back a bit don’t they? If the world feels ugly, get outside and find the beauty. Because you needn’t go very far.
Is it hard to talk about your mental health? (Doesn't mean on Instagram necessarily, but do you feel the stigma is lifting and do you feel safe to speak your mind, even if it is possibly 'mental'?)
I try my best to talk about it. And I won’t ever shy away from it. But then, I still feel like we are often made to feel like there is a time and a place. I do worry about judgement, being accepted, and being liked. I have something that war heroes are also battling - and I definitely feel inferior about that. But I feel the way I feel. And I feel most of it because I love my daughter so much and I just wish I could have made things different for her in those early days.
Where’s your head at?
Right now, I am having a hard time. I am pregnant and due in three weeks. We have had specialist scans this time. And everything looks good with this baby - he’s a boy (we’ve picked an awesome name). But no one can ever say for certain that he will be okay. So I am a bit terrified...
I don’t have many people to talk to that fuly understand. And I suppose I keep telling myself that, in a world of miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility and loss, that I am lucky to be carrying a baby at all. That never helps me, but I am always wary of being too public about how I feel right now, because I know that expressing how I feel could potentially hurt someone else.
That’s what I find the hardest sometimes. I am so grateful for him. I would never change him. And I know I am lucky. But I am still scared.
Soft Play or Rehab?
But only if they have nice coffee and good cake, and I can bring a friend or Mark with me!
Jacobs Creek or a Jacobs Cracker? (Not sponsored)
Jacobs Creek - OH MY WORD I can’t wait to have wine again.
Nut Job or Nut Allergy?
Nut Job, because peanut butter.
Self Care or Self Sabotage?
Self care - the other one doesn’t work, I’ve tried it.
Journal or jog?
Journal - writing is amazing for me.
Ask for help or happy to hermit?
Both - sometimes you are the only person you need. And sometimes you’re your own worst enemy. You just have to recognise which one it is that day and go with it.
If you'd like to read more conversations with Mental Muthas, click HERE.
Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.