Mum of one, Emily Tredget founded MummyLinks - the safe place to meet mums locally - after suffering loneliness and Post Natal Depr...

Parenting and mental health: What it feels like: Part 6

By June 09, 2018

parenting and mental health

Emily Tredget
Mum of one, Emily Tredget founded MummyLinks - the safe place to meet mums locally - after suffering loneliness and Post Natal Depression. Before motherhood, Emily studied at Oxford University, worked as a Strategy Consultant, and then spent nearly 5 years in Supply Chain Management at innocent drinks. But she found the transition from career girl to motherhood very difficult - particularly feeling lonely. So she is now passionate about helping all mums to create a great support network locally to them. MummyLinks helps mums meet locally for ad-hoc playdates, safely - it invite/approval only. Emily is also an advocate for maternal mental health, working tirelessly to reduce the stigma and raise awareness. She launched the #ShoutieSelfie campaign which was a great success in both 2017 and 2018.

1) When did you realize you had a mental health problem?
A few months after my son was born. He started to sleep through the night and I suddenly stopped. I was surviving on just 1 hour of sleep a night which made me extremely anxious and depressed. I tried my hardest to push on, but when it started to affect every part of my life I knew something was wrong. In hindsight, I had struggled with anxiety during the pregnancy, but I hadn't noticed at the time - thinking it was just a part of being pregnant.

2) How did you deal with it?
I went to my GP, although they wanted to put me on medication which I wasn't keen on. For me, taking a tablet that could affect me when I was already feeling out of control wasn't appealing. So I went on the waiting list for CBT and went on to do various talking therapies. At times I also tried to eat better and get some exercise, but that was often pretty hard to motivate myself to do! I also set up MummyLinks (helping all mums beat loneliness) and starting talking out about PND. They both gave me a focus beyond myself - of helping other people. Because once I started to talk to close friends about my struggles and found they also struggled so I wasn't alone, I felt a hundred times better. So now I hope to do this for any mums who read my blogs or see me talking out in the media.

3)How does your mental health affect your parenting?
When I was really struggling it affected it a lot. I was scared to be left alone with my son as I always had this fear of being taken ill and not being there for him. Which meant that often I had to ask my mum to look after him during the day. It also made me more irritable which I hated. And then I'd beat myself up for being that way which continued the vicious circle. 

4)Do your children notice when you have a bad day?
If obviously upset my son was very cute - he brings me his toys to play with or gives me a hug. He didn't show signs of noticing if I was just feeling a bit off, or not that I could pick up anyway!

- How does that make you feel? 
It actually makes me so proud of him; he seems to have this innate ability to know what to do if someone is upset. Which funnily enough is something I struggle with!

 -How do you deal with it?
I always tried to be very real about it. People can't be happy all the time, and that's ok. I'd never want to think that he thought we expected him to be happy and jolly all the time, so why should we put this pressure on ourselves too? It just creates false expectations.

5)How does your mental health affect your daily life?
Right now it doesn't affect me much - although I do have to ensure I get enough sleep and don't over do it otherwise I do feel anxieties creeping back in. But back during my darkest days, it was all-consuming. On the worst days, I wouldn't manage anything. My mum would have my son and I would just rest all day. It also meant that I would pull out of social events at the last minute, or not sign up to them to start with. Everything just took much more effort, so it was exhausting. It's been a slow journey to where I am today, but I've learnt to be kinder to myself and prioritise what is actually important.

6)If you have, how did you get over your mental health problems?
It was when I accepted how I was that actually, things started to improve. I knew deep down I was doing the best I could, and when I stopped worrying about comparing myself to others it definitely got better. And talking to other mums too - 1 in 4 struggle and when you realise that you aren't alone like you feel you are it makes a huge difference. And that's why I speak out very openly about my experience. I don't want any mum to feel alone like I did for so long. We are all in this with you.

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Much Love
Until Next Time,

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