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My mental health does not define me*

Many people ask me what made me want to start a business when my baby was only 3 months old. The reason is pretty simple: I want to help other parents. I did a brief Instagram post on this, but here is my story.

Sweet Bliss Births newborn

For as far back as I can remember, I have lived with anxiety. In fact, my earliest memory is when I was diagnosed at the age of 12. Although I had anxiety, I never let it define me and I never let anyone know I was living with it. I was able to manage it more often than not. It didn’t affect my day-to-day life and when I did have a panic attack or burst of anxiety, I was able to remove myself so no one would notice. Why? Because I didn’t want anyone to know I had a mental health issue and to treat me any differently.

If this sounds familiar, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Unfortunately, mental health still comes with a lot of negative stigma and when some have opened up about it, they are met with judgement and ignorance. I found that it was easier for me to just manage it myself rather than have people be dismissive of me, or judge me and my behaviours.

I have always been a planner, a perfectionist and a people pleaser; I thrive from knowing I have helped others and don’t expect anything back. I am so passionate about making sure others are OK and cared for that I used to forget to look after myself; in fact, I didn’t know how to ask for help or look after myself. So when I experienced my first mental breakdown, no one realised - not even me.

Sometimes it feels easier to just smile and carry on. But finding someone to hear the true story can give that smile life.
A Fairytale beginning

They say that the biggest stressors in life are:

Getting married

Buying a house

Having a baby

All of these are big events that come with additional responsibility and changes in the way in which we live our lives. Some people might be affected by all of these events, others might only be affected by some, and others might not be affected at all. My mental health was severely affected by the first event.

I had always imagined a fairy-tale wedding. I’m pretty sure I had it all planned in my head when I was very young and I knew exactly how I wanted things. I didn’t plan for the external factors that were out of my control. This is where it began. As well as the stress of planning two weddings, I was met with other uncontrollable events that affected my mental health. I slowly found that things were slipping from my hands and I could not balance it all. Each time I tried to hold onto one, something else went. I found myself focussing on getting everything right and not focussing on my own mental health. I crashed. It all became a downward spiral from here.

Catch me... please

My behaviour changed dramatically. I began to become more irritable, argumentative and generally not very pleasant to be around. I didn’t enjoy my weddings - the days I had planned for years - because of my mental health, and those around me recognised the behaviour as ungrateful and not as a cry for help. My breakdown caused me to lose people in my life that I had once gone out of my

way to help and support, because I didn’t open up to them about my mental health before; because they weren’t aware of the severity of my anxiety.

After 6 months of being married, my husband recognised my behaviour and urged me to seek help. My mental health had deteriorated so much that it had turned into depression. I lost interest in many things, I was afraid to make new friendships or relationships in fear of sabotaging them and hurting others. But with my husband’s help and support I was able to find my way to recovery.

Today I stand strong and and can say yes, I live with anxiety and have a history of depression, but my mental health does not define me.

This is my why.

1 in 5 mums and 1 in 10 dads experience postnatal illness. The changes that a baby brings to our lives can be both exciting and overwhelming. The uncertainty a pregnancy and baby brings is the same uncertainty I felt when things were out of my control for my wedding. We can try to plan as much as we like, but there are times that are just beyond our control and it is how we manage this that affects our mental health. It’s all about having an open mind, embracing the change and asking for help.

I'll hold you whilst you hold your new family

I was lucky to have had my husband know what to do and help me seek support. I understand that not everyone has that and not everyone can recognise the changes when it comes to mental health. This is why I want to be there to help others. To let parents know they are not alone, to recognise, validate and talk about the feelings they have so that they can take back as much control as possible.

The breathing techniques and relaxations I used for hypnobirthing not only helped in my birth but also helped me to remain calm and reduced the overwhelming feeling in my 4 th trimester.

I started my business when my baby was 3 months old to help parents take back as much control of the pregnancy, birth and life with baby, as possible. I started my business to support the mental health of parents; for you to enjoy your birthing and parenting journey - not fear it.

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