Emily Dancing in a kitchen with a toddler while holding a baby

I have been writing blogs for The Happy Mum’s Foundation intermittently since having my first child, nearly 3 years ago. For those of you that are new here, please be assured that you can only expect complete honesty. I try my best to be as open, honest and authentic as I can be.

All blog topics are accounts of my own personal experiences. I’m sure there will be some of my experiences that are different from yours, after all every experience is unique to us all. However, my real hope is that you are able to resonate with some of my experiences and feel a sense of support and community in my stories.

I guess a good place to start and introduce myself here is by sharing my own maternal mental health experiences with you. 

So… here goes. Fasten your seat belts, it’s a bumpy one.

I try my best to be as open, honest and authentic as I can be.

Throughout my first pregnancy I really struggled with my mental health, and had a hard time connecting to my then unborn child. I spent the majority of my pregnancy with a real deep seated fear that something terrible was going to happen and I just could not shake it.

People would pass comments like “are you not excited?” and “people have babies all the time, I don’t know what you’re worrying about”, which only added to my feelings of anxiety and low mood. I refused medication I was offered, because at the time I felt like a failure. I was already failing my unborn child by not being able to ‘pull myself together’ as I felt was expected of me.

When my son was born I felt such a sense of relief initially. He was finally here, and he was healthy. Believe me I know all too well how lucky I am to be able to say those words, but that did not help the overwhelming terror I also felt. I wanted so desperately to be out of that hot, sweaty hospital with the pungent smell of dried blood in every corner, and other people’s screaming babies at all hours. Urgh, the thoughts even now makes me feel sick all over again.

As the months went on I just did not feel myself at all. I was really struggling to function with the most basic tasks, like the endless amounts of washing and my mood became increasingly more erratic by the day. My mood could go from being angry, irritable, hysterical crying, manic episodes, crippling anxiety, extremely low mood and back again several times over the space of a few hours. 

I sat on the kitchen floor for 2 hours hysterically crying

One of my worst days was when my son was sat in his swing just screaming at me. I had tried all day to leave the house but I physically could not set foot out of the house. It was like there was a physical barrier stopping me. Except there wasn’t. The only barrier was in my mind, and it was taking over my life.

I sat on the kitchen floor for 2 hours hysterically crying, with my 4 month old baby screaming so hard he was almost purple because he was so upset, and I just could not move. I couldn’t pick him up, I couldn’t look at him, I just could not do anything. I was frozen in this moment that I couldn’t escape. I knew I loved him so much, but I just could not do it that day. And that absolutely terrified me, because I had to. I didn’t have a choice. 

When my husband came home that evening. I just couldn’t speak to try and explain that I just didn’t know what was wrong with me. When I eventually calmed down, I felt like the worst mum ever. What sort of a mother couldn’t find the love in her heart to console her screaming baby? What sort of a mother couldn’t take charge of her own emotions and put her babies needs first? What sort of a mother couldn’t see that her baby just wanted his mummy? 

When I saw my GP and explained how I was feeling, he told me I “just wasn’t coping with being a mum”. I referred myself to first step like I was told to, and as suspected they couldn’t help me. My GP never followed up like he should have, and this only resulted in me feeling even more alone, isolated and terrified.

I felt that I seemingly ‘couldn’t cope’ with something that women do every day. Something that should be ingrained in my being. This is what I was literally made to do. To be a mother. So I went inside myself and things got dark, really dark for a while. I was trying to claw myself out of this dark hole, but I just kept being dragged back into it.

My son was 9 months old when I plucked up the courage to go back to the doctors for the second time, but this time I requested a female GP. That was when the tide turned for the better for me. She instantly acknowledged that this was not ‘normal’, and referred me to the perinatal mental health team. It took me over a year to get the help I desperately needed, but I got the tools under my belt that I needed to find what worked for me. I felt more in control of my mental health and that helped massively.

Fast forward to December 2023, and I welcomed the safe arrival of my beautiful daughter. I felt so much better equipped to deal with motherhood this time, after all I had done it before. This time was my ‘do over’. To make up for all of the things that I felt I had failed my son on the first time. I was prepared to fully immerse myself in new motherhood for the second time, and enjoy all of the baby stages that I struggled so much with first time. I was so excited, which I hadn’t been the first time. 

My early postpartum journey has been even muddier than the first time

I have spent the last 2 years really working on myself and my identity as a mum. I have tried lots of new things, and felt that I had really found my feet for the first time since becoming a mum. I felt more confident, balanced in my mood, and generally able to cope much better. I knew all of the tips and tricks that worked for me, and all of the warning signs I needed to recognise for me to take control of my mental health. 

That was all great, except, life had a different plan for me. 3 weeks after my daughter’s birth, my youngest brother sadly passed away.

My early postpartum journey has been even muddier than the first time, with hormones mixed with grief, and the general overwhelm that comes with being a new mum. It has been a very confusing time to say the least.

Both the best and worst moments of my life…at the same time. I am still on this journey and it’s still very raw, so I don’t feel I can write too much in retrospect right now but I’m sure I will in time.

This has been, and is, one of the hardest periods of my life to date. Like most people I have been through my fair share of difficult times, but I could never have imagined trying to navigate grief for the first time, as a new mum, with a new baby and a toddler, while also trying to keep my mental health in check. 

I know there will be light at the end of this long dark tunnel…but right now I’m muddling my way through the depths of the darkness, taking note of the beams of light that are my children and their innocence of the world. I never want them to lose that. 

My whole world has changed unimaginably, but I know that in time things might feel a little lighter and easier to live with. Right now, I have to try and be kind myself and simply…survive. 

I really hope you can use this space to reinforce the realisation that you are not alone. There are more mums that struggle with their mental health than you realise. It took me longer than it should to realise this. If coming to a group just feels too much for you right now, I hope you can use this blog as a starting point on your journey to recovery. When the time is right, we are here for you and we can’t wait to welcome you with open arms, and a hot cuppa!


Happy Mums provides peer support groups for mums and Mums-to-be to share how they really feel without judgement.

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Staying Safe

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or feeling like you want to die, it’s important to tell someone.

– Samaritans – Phone: 116 123 Email: jo@samaritans.org
– Contact your GP and ask for an emergency appointment
– Phone 111 out of hours and they will help you find the support and help you need
– Contact your local Access Liaison Integration Service (ALIS) team – Phone: 03001239015 or freephone: 08006522865

If you need immediate help, and in the case of serious injury, call 999 or go straight to A&E