Maternal mental health is something – here at Kensington Mums HQ – we know an awful lot about. It’s the very heart of our business and the reason we do what we do. Dina, our founder, created Kensington Mums to “establish a support network that every mother needs.” She suffered from postnatal depression and understands firsthand how lonely and debilitating that can be. To mark Maternal Mental Health month, we talk to two other London mums who, like Dina, have turned negative experiences in parenthood into something positive.
“I struggled with my emotional wellbeing through the early years of motherhood,” says Sara Campin “and again when juggling the dual burdens of work and home. I was far from the mum I wanted to be. I was constantly shouty and stressed out. Learning the art of self-care changed my life – but it was my kids who reaped the rewards.”
Sara wanted to give other mums instant access to the wellbeing tools she worked so hard to find and in March launched a social enterprise – an app called Nourish. In her words, it’s “a place where mums can access help, advice and lots of TLC. A growing library of practical wellbeing tools from leading experts in the field – including positive psychology, yoga, mantras, mindfulness, nutrition and much, much more.”
Sara believes a big part of the problem is the pressure we – as parents – and particularly as mums put on ourselves. “We turn to social media when we’re feeling bored or stressed. Swiping through images may numb the boredom but it can be damaging – especially when we compare the lives we see on screen to our own.” Happiness Coach, Olivia Horne, agrees. “We’re exhausting ourselves, trying to show the perfect picture of motherhood to the world.” Sara wanted her app to be an antidote to the magazine cover world of social media. “A place of calm, uplift and nurture in the virtual world.” And on that objective, she’s certainly succeeded.
Anna Ceesay also suffered with her maternal mental health. “I experienced low mood and anxiety during my second pregnancy. I was terrified to tell anyone because I felt like a failure as a mum. It took me a few months, but I did eventually reach out. I was lucky to get professional help, but that’s not the case for everyone.” Official figures suggest up to one in five women are affected by mental health problems during pregnancy and in the first year after birth (Royal College of GPs), but research shows around half of those affected aren’t diagnosed due to the stigma surrounding it.
Anna has recently launched Motherdom, a magazine to “showcase all the amazing work in the maternal mental health and wellbeing world and start to build a village around women who might struggle to ask for help.” She hopes, like Sara, that by showing mums they are not alone in their struggles and giving them instant access to health and wellbeing tools she can start to make a difference. Both Anna and Sara and so many others who work with them are desperate to break down the stigma that still surrounds maternal mental health and make mums see that to ask for help is actually a show of strength – not weakness.
The Nourish app is currently available for iPhone (download here), with Android launching later this summer. www.thenourishapp.com @thenourishapp Motherdom is available here (both in print and online): https://motherdom.co.uk/shop/ as well as in selected WHSmith stores