My mum and dad gave me a really good upbringing. They taught me right from wrong, to always side with what is right, and to think about the importance of equality. Their guidance, along with my lived experience, has shaped me into the woman and mother I am today.
During my first pregnancy, I felt amazing and was so excited to become a mother. My pregnancy and labour were great - I had no complaints.
However, after I gave birth, that’s when things started to change. Anxiety started to build up and take over my head.
I didn't understand why I didn't feel as amazing as I felt during pregnancy. Postpartum wasn't what I thought it would be.
“I wanted to understand why I was feeling so low and filled with so much anxiety but more importantly, why I felt so ashamed of my feelings.”
The support from my family was always there - they just didn't know how to support me during a time where I was battling with my mental health. My background is African. My mum and dad's generation, till today, believe in praying away your problems and being grateful. However, in order to heal, they don't understand that we need to break the stigma around mental health and talk about it, without the fear of being judged.
My experience with the GP
I had an unpleasant experience with my GP. I booked an appointment with concerns for my mental health and to better understand how I was feeling. At the appointment, I wasn’t approached with any care or concern. I was uncomfortable as there was no effort to connect with me or to have a conversation with me. I needed to feel seen in order to trust the system, but I didn't get that. I didn't feel included in my own care.
“It felt like a tick box exercise.”
You’re supposed to trust your GP, but because of this uncomfortable interaction, I didn’t. I was worried what would happen to my child if I spoke openly about my mental health. This created barriers for me because I didn’t know which services to access to help my perinatal mental health.
I was offered anti-depressants and I challenged this immediately. I asked if there were any peer support groups I could be involved in. Only then my GP gave me leaflets for this. I felt like I was doing their job for them.
I talked to others in peer support and quickly realised that my experience was very similar to others. It’d come to the point where I did my own research and found out perinatal mental illnesses affect 1/5 pregnant women and new mums. I also discovered that if left untreated, it can
have long-lasting effects. This will inevitably have an affect on the children and other members of the family.
How I founded The Motivational Mums Club
At the time, I had a very small circle of friends and they were at work while I was looking after my son. I needed more support. This was my turning point.
After doing more research, I also discovered that the waiting list for someone to get a mental health screening with the NHS can be up to 2-3 years. It’s unacceptable for any mum or parent to wait that long to be treated for something equally as important as physical health.
I wanted to start something that would make sure that mums get the help that they need. I wanted it to be accessible, free and for it to promote mental health awareness. Thus, The Motivational Mums Club was born.
The Motivational Mums Club provides free mental health sessions to mothers and birthing people with an NHS qualified mental health psychologist. It’s also a space where I host events and bring mums together to speak about their experience of motherhood. I also conduct and gather my own research on maternal mental health, which is published.
Getting pregnant again
At my first event, I had speakers talk about their life experiences such as stillbirth, being a single mum, and being a domestic violence survivor.
Little did I know, during that first ever event, I was expecting my daughter - while my son was only 7 months.
I was planning my return to work and had a plan on how I was going to manage my home and work life. It was all figured out until I found out I was pregnant again. It was scary because I didn’t want to lose my sense of ‘self’ again after falling pregnant with my baby girl so soon.
“I didn't just want to be ‘Mum’ - I wanted to be Chrissy as well.”
The mission of The Motivational Mums Club is to focus on your perinatal mental health. So with the help and support from my family and tribe, I decided to invest in the mission of my business while raising my incredible kids.
My advice to mums who are struggling with their mental health
- There is NO shame in asking for help. Help is waiting for you whenever you need it. Everyone struggles and everyone needs help.
- Be kind and patient with yourself. I know you’re busy raising a tiny human, but make sure you look out for yourself too - physically and mentally. There are so many ways of doing things. Every baby and every family is different so find what works best for you and don’t worry about the rest.
- Find your tribe. Connecting with other women/birthing people who understand what you’re going through is essential. Don’t ever think you have to do any of this alone. I found my tribe through sharing my experiences via Motivational Mums Club. Mothers started to open up to me about their experiences and we shared self-care tips for better mental health. My perspective of feeling 'shame' has now changed. I feel proud of my journey and proud of others for seeking help through my business.
- Finally, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. I realised very quickly that it’s a learning process, even for people who are not first-time parents. Parents learn from what they have heard or learned from their own parents. But doing it yourself, with your own child, is an entirely different thing. Children each have their own identity and parenting them involves adjusting your skills depending on your child’s needs. If I had known this before, I would have not been so hard on myself.
The Motivational Mums Club and Young Positive Minds
At the Motivational Mums Club, my team of Psychologists provide free mental health sessions to mothers and birthing people and mums-to-be. I also work closely with healthcare bodies to improve on mental health healthcare services for ethnic minorities who have suffered from near death experiences, birth trauma and more. I also provide mothers and birthing people with tips on how to maintain their mental health and practise selfcare whilst wearing the many hats that we often wear as parents.
I later founded the sister company, Young Positive Minds. Through this I aim to empower children with the mental health tools they need when faced with challenges. This also supports parents, educators, and family members to help children become resilient. As a result of this, we now sell affirmation flashcards, stickers and wrapping paper. The characters who play the affirmations on the products are my children, who are Black British. I strongly believe in diverse representation as it’s important for children to see their background being represented in educational resources.
Check out www.motivationalmumsclub.com for further information on The Motivational Mums Club and Young Positive Minds Products and services.
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