Are you a Mental Mum or a Mum that’s Mental?

A bit of both, probably more of the latter than the first though. I’ve always suffered with anxiety but it’s been worse since I lost my second baby when I was 25 weeks pregnant, which is just over 8 years ago. Wow, that’s a long time to be mental.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Meditate? Talk? Hide?

I put oil into my humidifier. I have a great book called ‘The Fragrant Pharmacy’ and I go through that to see what section covers the way I’m feeling on that particular day, then I put the relevant oils in the humidifier and I just sit for a while and let it do its thing. I use Bach flower remedies and put a few drops into water and sip that as well. I like to get outside so I’ll put my music on and just walk. I force myself to get out because otherwise I would stay indoors where it’s ‘safer’. I always feel better for it. It feels like I am reminding myself I am part of the world. Sometimes if I’m feeling overwhelmed I look out the window at the trees blowing in the wind, or I stand in my back garden and listen to the kids in the playground at the school across the road and it makes me feel a bit more like I exist, if that makes sense? Like there is a world out there and what I am feeling is temporary.

Do you discuss your mental health with your mum mates?

No, not in depth. We all talk about mumhood and tiredness but not about how we are actually feeling inside if we are having a bad day. I guess we worry about appearing that we are failing in some way. I think we should tell it like it is. My friends know I struggle with my loss but probably don’t realise how deep it goes. I like to appear strong so they may just think I am dealing with it.

How do you tackle mental health chats with your kids?

At school my kids are taught to put their worries in a box, tie a balloon to it and let it fly away. I like this idea and I think it really helps them. I always encourage my kids to come and talk to me and I tell them it is ok to feel upset, angry, frustrated, confused etc about things. We should talk to ourselves the way we talk to our children, and be kinder to ourselves.

Who helps you in the dark? 

My hero is my friend Rach. She lost her baby boy around the same time I lost my daughter, Jasmine, and we met on a forum on Netmums for mums who had suffered stillbirth and the loss of a child. She totally gets me and I get her. We live 4 hours from each other so contact is by email and text mostly but our chats have helped me so much over the years.

What helps you in the light?

When things are good I feel amazing. I love walking in the fresh air, being around my 3 boys and just listening to their random chats and beautiful laughter. I have my own nail and holistic therapy business which I love. I help at my children’s school with reading. I just generally put myself out into the world and don’t feel the need to hide away.

Is it hard to talk about your mental health?

Definitely. The stigma seems to be lifting slightly though, thanks to organisations like Nailing Mental Health which I’ve been involved in with the founder Stephanie Staunton. She suffers from Bipolar disorder and is very honest about her struggles. I’ve done the CBT thing, the Hypnotherapy thing, the Counselling thing, and I find talking just makes me cry. I prefer to do things like ‘brain dump’ which is a technique I discovered thanks to Mary Meadows, and I find watching her videos really help me process and make sense of how I am feeling.

Where’s your head at? Right now?

I am tired after a 2 day migraine but I’ve been to the gym and I am going to eat well today and nourish my body. The kids are happy so I am happy. I have the Chiropractor this afternoon so I am looking forward to getting my neck cracked! I’m feeling pretty positive and quite energised after my workout.

Soft play or rehab?

Rehab. Soft play is sweaty, stinky, noisy hell.

Jacobs Creek or Jacobs Cracker?

I’m gluten intolerant so Jacobs Creek.

Nut job or Nut allergy?

Nut job. Everyone has a bit of nuttiness in them somewhere.

Self care or self sabotage?

Self care for sure. A year ago I would’ve said different, but I’m learning.

Journal or jog?

Brain dump then weights!

Ask for help or happy to hermit?

Happy to hermit, but I am starting to become more open to asking for help. I’ve just got to suck it up and admit that sometimes beneath this smiley exterior that puts glitter on people for a living there is a woman struggling a bit. That feels good to say out loud!



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Women talking unashamedly about their mental health and parenting innit.