Keeping my dad’s mental illness a secret because he felt ashamed of what was happening to him was one of the hardest things to deal with. After an 18 month battle my dad eventually took his life.
This was without doubt the worst day of my life. I was six months pregnant and expecting my first child. I still feel amazed at how we all got through those early months.
I gave birth to my son three days before my 30th birthday. It was a bitter sweet experience. Overjoyed that I had my beautiful baby boy, totally heartbroken that my dad never got to see him.
My son became my little light and without him I know I would have been unable to cope.
Mental illness has played a part in a number of my family member’s lives and I feel saddened that it is still such a misunderstood condition.
Motherhood is the most precious, wonderful, happy and also, at times, the most difficult experience. Sleep deprivation mixed with emotions of fear, guilt, confusion, loneliness… Are people judging me? Am I doing this right?
Many mums go through postnatal depression or depression further on in their life as a mother. The pressure to be the best mummy who can handle everything that is thrown at them can feel huge. I want mums to know that they are strong and not feel like their occasional inability to cope is a weakness.
Parenthood is hard, dealing with sleepless nights is sometimes unbearable, controlling tantrumming tots under the watchful eyes of strangers is challenging. Listening to the older generation tell you that they don’t remember their children being like that is never helpful.
They say it is good to talk and I could not be a bigger believer in this school of thought. Be honest about your feelings because the chances are that most of your mum friends feel a similar way.
On Thursday 2 February Little Dot Company launched the STRONG MAMA gym vests to coincide with Time to Talk Day. £5 from every vest sold will be donated to the Time to Change charity.
This campaign shows support for all the mums who are dealing with depression, whether it’s postnatal, from a bereavement, a relationship breakdown, or feeling the strain of sleep deprivation.
Little Dot is initially launching the gym vest because exercise is proven to help your mental wellbeing, whether it is a power walk with the pushchair, a run, an exercise class. It helps clear the mind.
It’s been over five year since my dad died. I’ve had another baby, a girl, my Little Dot, who took over two years to conceive. I had a miscarriage in between and went through the heart ache of month-upon-month of seeing failed pregnancy tests. But I know that regularly talking and being open and honest about my problems is what helped me through it all.
I’ve never minded sharing my fertility issues, my miscarriage or losing my dad because I've been surprised how many people are going through the same and how much of a relief it feels to know you’re not the only one.
The vests are available for order on www.littledot.co.uk. The giveaway is on Facebook @littledotcompany.
If you are on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram use the #timetotalk hash tag. Go to the Time to Talk web page download the image to change your cover photo.
Let’s get people talking, supporting and being honest about mental health.