“We are all just muddling through, doing the best we can, and some days that means a TV day and fishfingers for tea”
Emily Tredget who runs Mummy Links talks reality and Hope
My hope is to live in a world where maternal mental health issues are understood and not stigmatised.
Where all mums and dads are valued for the work they do looking after their kids, and where parenting isn’t judged. We are all just muddling through, doing the best we can, and some days that means a TV day and fishfingers for tea.
When I became a mum three and a half years ago my world changed. But to start with, not for the better. I was thrown into a world of sleep deprivation, crying and survival. Not my son’s lack of sleep, crying, or survival. But mine.
I had lost all hope. I was surviving on 1 hours sleep a night due to insomnia. Eating tons of rubbish or nothing at all. I never wanted to be left alone with my son, or to leave the house due to anxiety.
I felt depressed because I didn’t have choices anymore. Anxiety made even the simplest tasks impossible. I got to the point where I wanted to run away or end it all, but with the right support from family, friends and my local mental health service I started to see the hope again. I lost sight of the hope many times, but it would always come back, and stronger than before.
When I look back on those days now it makes me sad. I feel like I lost two years of my son’s life to anxiety and depression. Some days or weeks my brain has completely forgotten. But it also makes me proud. Proud to see how far I have come. Those days do not define me.
I now love my son to bits and we have a great bond. I took him to a local theme park a few months ago, something that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do as crowds, queues and motion had been too much for me for so many years. Crowds and queues felt unbearable.
I posted about that day on my social media, because it came a week or so after I launched a free app called “Mummy Links” to help mums, and soon after, fathers. I beat loneliness through safe and local playdates. But I wanted to tell the world how I was infinitely prouder of taking my son to that theme park, than I was of launching an app.
I wanted to share my story to give hope to all those mums and dads struggling now. Whether it’s physically, mentally or emotionally. You have got this. Yes it is tough. And yes, you do need help (go get it if you haven’t already – we weren’t meant to do this life on our own like we so often believe.) You will come out the other side.
My work focus helped me concentrate on functional aspects of myself and my life. I believe my experience can and will help other mums struggling. This gave me a sense of purpose that I had lost.
If you are struggling, don’t focus on what you aren’t doing. Truly accept who you are now, get the help you need, and take one day at a time. It wasn’t until I accepted that I wasn’t going to be the supermum I wanted to be, that my anxiety lifted, my depression reduced, and I finally started to recover.
I got my hope back piece by piece by working on MummyLinks to help others. And my hope today is that I can help give hope to the many mums and dads struggling out there right now by helping them create their local support community; to know that it will be ok, but that for now, it is ok not to be ok.