Maternal Mental Health – Naomi

Hi, I’m Naomi. I’m a peer supporter at the library, if you come to the St Helens meet you will probably have seen me there! I am many things. I am a mother, wife, vegan, not so closet hippy and I am also a sufferer of post natal depression. I have had depression for most of my life. It disappears for months or years at the time, but it always comes back. After the birth of my second child, I was on cloud 9 for the first 2 weeks. When my husband went back to work, leaving me with two very young children by myself, I really started to struggle. I had the perfect home birth I wanted, and fought very hard to get, I had a supportive husband, precooked meals in the freezer and I’d even managed to get out of my pyjamas and outside of the house, so why did I start to feel down and sad? Practicalities of life with two smalls hit me like a small ton of bricks and I started to flounder.

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Taking the biggest (and smallest) to visit the rescue ponies at Shy Lowen

I had worn my eldest child in a variety of slings since she was around 6 weeks old, a stretchy then moving to a woven. I discovered Rachael, and the library, when Livia was around one and I met Rachael for a back carrying consultation. I learnt to back carry and Rachael told me about a peer supporter training course and very kindly let me loose on parents at sling meets, sharing my love of babywearing. When I found myself outnumbered by both girls, and after the eleventy millionth nappy change (newborns eh?!) Livia wanted me to sit with her and make worms out of playdough, I pulled out the brand new Oscha woven wrap I’d bought for Genevieve and wrapped my teeny newborn to my chest, pulled up a ridiculously small chair and got busy making ‘worms’. For the first day, I felt I’d got the parenting smalls lark down! It’s my go to on those bad days. It takes so little time to wrap her up now, it’s my parenting secret weapon. Reflux? Sling. Teething? Sling. Won’t nap? Sling. Wants cuddles and the big one wants me to fetch/carry/play/make food? Slings. It’s even my go to for a poorly, grumpy, teetering-on-the-edge-of-a-meltdown 2 year old! Slings, almost literally, have given my sanity back and have enabled me to reconnect to my children when I feel so overwhelmed that I just can’t cope any more, even the process of wrapping and making sure I meet TICKS (very important!) gives me enough of a breather to calm myself down. It also gives me the chance to make food, wash my face, brush my hair and all those really small things you can’t do with just one hand!

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Parenting a poorly big girl

Slings won’t fix postnatal depression. Only a supportive village (also found at a sling meet!) and professional help will do that. They do, however, go a long way to helping you deal with the day to day stuff that life with smalls throws at you and enabling you to do the things that help take care of you and your mental health which can seem insurmountable on some days.

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