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If you’re feeling low then we’ve put together some top tips to cope at Christmas time.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or so we’re told.

There’s so much pressure at Christmas time for us all to be merry and bright – and an unspoken stigma towards anyone who might not feel so jovial.

But we all know that life doesn’t always work out as we think it should. If you’re suffering from depression or struggling mentally that doesn’t just go away as we hang up the tinsel. The pressure to have a happy Christmas can actually worsen symptoms,

But how do you get through the festive period if you’re feeling low?

Look after yourself

Nail the basics. Make sure you get enough sleep and rest. Eat well, drink enough water and get all the breaks you can.

It can be harder to eat well and sleep well when you’re struggling. But the more you can, the better you’ll fare.

It can help to ask your partner or a family member or friend to keep an eye out and help you nail the basics too. Whether that means cooking for you, looking after the kids so you can rest or helping with nursery/school runs so you have less on your plate.

If someone offers to help – let them. If nobody does – ask!

Even during the festivities make sure you carve out some time to breathe. If you need a walk alone or a nap then take it. If you need to put on a Christmas movie so the kids will zone out and you can snooze – do it!

And don’t feel guilty. Self-care is never selfish. When you know you’re already struggling it’s vital.

Use the FLAME way to build self-care into your days as Christmas approaches

How to cope at Christmas – Talk to someone

This one goes for whenever you feel down but is more important at this time of year. The task of planning for, shopping for and getting ready for Christmas can feel overwhelming at the best of times. And almost impossible if you’re struggling.

Talk about how you are feeling. Don’t bottle it up. Talk to your partner, your family, your friends. Opening up about how you are struggling is hard but it always helps. Talking will ease the pressure and help you gather support to help you cope throughout the busy Christmas period.

You might feel that you need to talk to a counsellor or a mental health professional to make sure you have the support you need.

Seeking help is not a weakness. It’s a brave and important step.

If you are feeling so low on energy that you can’t even begin to find out how you can get help then ask a family member or friend to help you find places to contact. We have some great charities and organisations that can help on our PND pages.

How to cope at Christmas if you're feeling low - talk to someone

Cut back on presents

We all know that there’s often too much spending and too many gifts at Christmas. And thinking of what to buy and shopping for them adds to the pressure. Make a list. Make it twice (scrapping all the extras) and make Christmas shopping easier.

If you can’t face the shops, buy online. Support local online shops if you can.

And – if your Christmas list is as long as your arm and it stresses you out – maybe now is the time to scale back on who you buy for. Maybe do a Secret Santa for adults in the family so you all but one gift instead of one for each other?

Scale it all back on the food will help with coping at Christmas

The lead up to the big day is such a hectic time. There’s just so much to plan and do and – especially if you’re feeling low – it can feel overwhelming.

One of the things you can do is to scale it back. You don’t have to go overboard and drive yourself to exhaustion prepping for the best Christmas ever. It won’t do you any favours and it won’t help your family either.

If you’re cooking – remember that essentially Christmas dinner is just a posh roast. And nobody will care if you cut corners. By all means – if you’ve got the time and the energy – make your own cranberry sauce and roast potatoes. But – if you’re feeling frazzled cut ALL the corners. Buy pre-made sauces and trimmings. Go all out and buy easy bung-in-the-oven shortcuts. Delegate and ask guests to bring a dish each so that there’s less pressure on you.

how to cope at Christmas

One of the best ways to cope at Christmas – Be brave enough to say ‘No’

Decide how you can cope at Christmas this year and say ‘No’ to anything you know will push you too much.

If you can’t face lots of social occasions – then don’t go.

If you’d rather have a quiet family Christmas at home then make it happen.

Last year – with the Covid restrictions – taught us all a lot about how Christmas doesn’t have to be a huge event.

And how there are ways to connect without even leaving your house. If you want to forgo a big family get together and travelling then suggest you all meet on Zoom instead for a family quiz.

It’s hard to say ‘No’ but – if you’re struggling – it can be the best thing for you. AND your family.

How to cope at Christmas: Limit your social media intake

Your Instagram feed will be chock full of images of families enjoying the ‘perfect’ Christmas. We all know that they’re just snapshots. And that they don’t always tell the full story. but being bombarded by images of the perfect family Christmas when you’re feeling low can make you feel even more miserable.

They say comparison is the thief of joy. But, if you scroll through social media, it’s hard not to compare. And to come away feeling worse than you did before you checked your feed.

If you’re struggling try and limit your social media intake. If you’re really brave – delete it altogether – at least during the Christmas period.

When there’s an empty place at the Christmas table

One of the reasons you might be struggling this Christmas is because you’ve lost a loved one. At this time of year, it can feel harder than ever.

Give yourself permission to grieve. It can be really really hard. But it’s not something that you should conceal and keep to yourself.

Cruse advises finding a way to remember your loved one and says:

“This can be as simple as ‘speaking’ to the person, silently or out loud, visiting their grave, or a place that was special to them. These things can be done alone or with friends or family. You may have photos or memories which you can share to bring you together.”

Marie Curie suggests finding ways to pay tribute in your day:

“Take the chance to talk about your loved one. You could light a candle by a photograph or release a balloon in memory.”

Pure and simply: you should listen to your own gut about how you would like to process the loss. Whether you would prefer going to your local church and being with a community as you hang an ornament with your loved ones name on it, or if you would prefer to quietly grieve in familiar territory like your own home -it’s up to you. Do what feels right in your heart.

And when you need to process it, try not to hold back the tears and keep a brave face for your family, as they can be a big source of comfort at this time. We need to remind ourselves that It’s okay to be facing a difficult time in your life and to feel sad about it. Even if it happens during the festive period.

Remember: It’s okay to be sad at Christmas

If you’re feeling low – for whatever reason – Christmas can be a hard time. The pressure, the enforced jollity and the overwhelm of all you have to do to get ready for the big day can be immense.

Talk to family and friends. Or perhaps a counsellor or medical professional.

And remember – it’s one day. Just one day.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. You’ll get through it.

Reach out. Take care. Be kind to yourself.

And – let others look after you too.


Check out more from the Happity blog:

Simple ways to ignite your spirit and improve your mood

Is there too much pressure to be the perfect parent?

Manage your anxiety- 5 top tips to help you in the moment

Today there is huge pressure to be the perfect parent.

A recent survey from BabyCentre revealed that 3 in 5 mums feel a huge pressure to be perfect parents. Another survey by Sure Start Scotland found that 50% of parents said they were put off seeking help because they felt like ‘bad parents’ for asking.

Where does this pressure come from and how can we deal with it?

Nicola, a mum of two girls from Team Happity, addressed this in our latest Instagram Live. Here’s what she had to say to open up the conversation:

The overwhelm of parenting advice

Today we’re bringing up our babies and children with an overwhelming amount of advice from digital media. There are so many blogs, surveys and media headlines coming at us from all sides telling us how to parent (and how not to). Often, the advice is changing and contradictory. It can be confusing and lead us to doubt our own instincts. And worry about whether we’re getting things wrong. It all adds to the pressure.

Our own grandmothers and mothers brought up their babies without this plethora of parenting advice. They relied on their own instincts as well as asking advice from family and friends (who they lived close by providing a village to raise their child). Things were simpler. There was more hands-on support. There wasn’t the same level of scrutiny.

Now many more of us live far away from our families. Our ‘villages’ are not there to step in and provide reassurance, help and support on a day to day level. And we can feel more alone and more doubtful about our parenting.

A mother’s place is always in the wrong!

There are online debates daily on the rights and wrongs of parenting. You can easily feel like you don’t know which way is up and feel like, if you get it ‘wrong’, then you’ll be judged.

Even if you don’t face direct judgement from people you know – you make you can read tweets and comments online from others who disagree with any parenting decision you make.

You give your baby a dummy – and then read hundreds of judgemental comments online condemning parents who do that. You stop breastfeeding at 3 months or 9 months (or keep breastfeeding until 2 years plus) and wade through hundreds of comments on social media about why either decision is harming your child.

Even if you feel like this was the best parenting decision for you and your baby and your family at the time you made it, you’ve got to have a thick skin. And a high level of confidence to brush this level of passionate online criticism and judgement.

The pressure from social media to be a perfect parent

In the survey from BabyCentre 2 in 5 mums said that social media intensifies the pressure to be a perfect parent because you are constantly bombarded with perfect images of parenting and compare yourself to others.

There’s a well known saying that ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. When you’re constantly being fed photos of happy parents with Insta perfect lives then this is elevated. Comparing yourself and finding that you come up short can really chip away at your self-esteem.

The pressure was less without social media

My girls are both grown up now and so I went through the early years of parenting when social media wasn’t a thing. I actually feel really lucky and thankful for that. Don’t get me wrong – there are many positives to social media – especially in terms of connecting parents and providing an online community and support. But that level of ‘in your face’ comparison just wasn’t there for me.

I felt like I was on a good day if I left my house without an obvious baby sick stain on my jumper and having found time to brush my hair! I didn’t even give a thought to whether my baby’s nursery was beautifully themed or whether I was pushing a stylish buggy. (Mine was the one I could afford at the time and later one I got as a hand-me-down from a friend).

Social media is now part of our lives and is here to stay. We all know that behind every perfect Insta shot there is no doubt a pile of clutter that a mum has pushed away. And that, more often than not, the pics show the best sides of a parent’s day and not the tears, tantrums and ‘in the trenches’ moments.

When you’re feeling a bit wobbly it’s harder to remember that a photo does not tell the whole truth and to stop comparing your own life to the lives we see on social media.

Putting pressure on ourselves to be the perfect parent

For me, the idealised picture of motherhood that I had in my head during pregnancy was just not realistic. I remember being told I could go home with my newborn baby and feeling overwhelmed. Although I’d had nine months to plan for this moment, it felt a little reckless that now I was taking this tiny vulnerable newborn home, feeling suddenly like I had no clue what I was doing!

Of course I learned along the way, but that feeling of overwhelm and uncertainty rocked my previous vision of myself as ‘the perfect mother’ right from the get-go.

Expectations vs reality

I had strong feelings of how I would parent before giving birth. If any of the things I’d planned didn’t work out, then I’d really beat myself up and feel like I’d failed somehow.

For example, I’d planned a natural birth. After over 32 hours of agonising and exhausting back-to-back labour, I begged the midwife for an epidural. It was the right decision for me at the time but I still felt guilty for ‘failing’.

There were many other moments where the ideal and the reality of parenting didn’t meet up and the guilt I felt for ‘getting it wrong’ was huge. Whether this was giving up breastfeeding too soon or shouting at my child after a day when I was exhausted and frustrated and just didn’t have the patience to deal with the crying or tantrums.

Work and mum guilt

the pressure to be the perfect parent

I grew up with the message that women could ‘have it all’. Which is empowering on one hand. But adds to the pressure on the other. Especially since flexible working, affordable childcare and gender equality are not yet at the level where women can find a perfect balance between work and being a mum.

We are expected to work as if we don’t have children, and parent as if we don’t have to work. I have worked part-time and full time as a mum. And have often felt like I couldn’t give both my full energy and attention. It never takes much for a perfectly planned week to go off the rails and for the plates we spin in the air to keep both going crash to the ground. All it takes is a poorly child or a childcare issue for things to start feeling stressful.

The guilt that comes with not always being able to find the balance between work and parenting adds to the pressure.

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent

My children are now both grown up and over the years I have worked hard on being kinder to myself and trying not to beat myself up for not being the perfect parent. After all – the perfect parent doesn’t exist. Just as the perfect human doesn’t!

I make mistakes. Of course I do. I always say sorry afterwards and try not to let the mum guilt eat away at me. All the choices I have made as a mum were the best for me and my children at the time and with the resources (and sometimes the energy!) I had.

The truth is we’re all just doing our best. And that makes us good parents. Which – seeing as perfect parents don’t exist – is good enough!

The very fact that you are worrying about whether you’re a good enough parent means that you probably already are.

You’re amazing and you’re doing a great job.

You’ve got this!

Watch our Instagram live

We’d love to know what you think about whether there is too much pressure to be the perfect parent. Hop over to watch our Insta live and please do leave a comment to share your thoughts.

You might also like:

Loneliness as a new mum: One mum’s story

Be more toddler! How it could make us happier

The impact of the pandemic on parents: One year on

Growing a baby means that your body changes pretty dramatically. You can end up with a mum tum (or baby pouch) that won’t go away no matter how much you try. Or boobs that have changed in shape and size. Or wobbly bits that you never had before.

You spend nine months learning to embrace maternity clothes. Whether they flatter or hide your bump.

After birth – you face a whole new challenge in what to wear.

You could be clinging onto maternity clothes that are 2 sizes too big for your body. Or maybe throwing on outfits that you don’t particularly love but also aren’t taking too much thought away from your day.

But, at the same time, it’s surprising how much of an influence your clothes have on things like confidence and self-love.

So how do we try and move past the panic in the morning and allow ourselves to feel more body positive? How do we feel good wearing the clothes we’re wearing?

Leanne from Team Happity recently discussed this on a Happity lunchtime live. Read on to find out what she had to say on the matter!


It’s tricky to feel body positive in the “no thoughts” outfit…

When time is precious, and we’re against the clock, experiencing body positivity is pretty much an afterthought (or never-thought!). But sadly, when we also do have time, most of us aren’t focusing on clothes. I think that we all have that same comfort outfit actually. The stretchy bottoms (probably maternity pants), t-shirt with a hole in it or a very visible stain on the front, and hair put up in a messy top-knot/pineapple bun.

There’s nothing wrong with having a “No thoughts” outfit. It’s easy to throw on, and is suitable for the routine gymnastics that the day will throw at us, as well of those few moments of calm where we can grab a cup of coffee and put our feet up. But, the unfortunate side to this outfit, as practical as it could be, is that it doesn’t do tons for our confidence.

We don’t feel our most fabulous in an old t-shirt and jogging bottoms. But after having that as your outfit, every day, for a significant period of time, it can actually be quite daunting to wear something else. Wearing a skirt in public feels like too big of a jump outside of the norm.

A woman stares at a mountain of clothes not knowing where to begin.

We can feel strangely afraid of clothes. It’s too much additional pressure and stress added to the day to be worth the hassle.

One of the reasons we may be afraid of certain pieces of clothing is the fear of exposing part of ourselves that we wanted to keep buried under the fabric. That the idea of being more “visible” or feeling more exposed was a really daunting concept (and still is!).

Confront your inner doubt and let your body positivity come out!

When I was in the process of losing weight a little while ago I hadn’t bought any new clothes that were adjusting to my new body size. I was weirdly okay with oversized bras but was desperately adding belts and stitches to old trousers to try and stop them from falling down. So, it seemed about time to go and buy some new clothes.

That was the first time in my life where I bought a crop top. A crop top is the opposite of what I would normally wear, and I felt like I didn’t have a good enough body for it. “No, only a certain looking body can wear that,” warned my inner doubts.

Yet, some part of me really wanted to just try it.

The top was exposing my belly, a part of my body that I had been trying so hard to cover up in the past, and was so so worried about being judged about it. I was shaking from the nerves, genuinely trembling and sweating, and this was just while I was alone in my room. But, I also just loved how I looked with it and how I felt wearing it. It made me feel cute.

The first time I wore it out in public was terrifying. I was holding my hands in front of my stomach or using a jacket to try and cover up the exposed skin. But the more I wore it out and about, I relaxed. And the more I relaxed, the more I realised that actually, no one was staring.

I was especially loving my new outfit during the sweaty summer weather. For 2021 the thought process was “suns out, tums out!” a phrase that I never in my wildest dreams have been saying in the past

Body positivity takes a conscious effort!

I suppose like most things that are looking after ourselves or making a change: practice makes perfect. Body positivity takes practice. The more small changes we make and give things an extra little thought, the more it begins to feel natural to us.

It’s just fabrics and zips and buttons! We shouldn’t feel afraid to wear clothes that may be a little more dressy than usual if they manage to boost our confidence and our moods. Trust me, if you like what you are wearing, your confidence will truly bloom!

So, with that all being said, I just wanted to give a few tips and some advice that I’ve either learnt, tried or heard from others. Because it can be a mental adjustment that takes practice. These aren’t anything too massive, but they might be a good place to start.


1. If you go into a clothes shop, challenge yourself to try on one “daring” piece of clothing that’s outside of your comfort zone

This is a fun thing to try out just to test your toes in the water of new clothing. In the fast-paced moving world of fashion and viral trends, there is always new clothing concepts that feel like they’ve come from a different reality. I never pretend to understand it, but it can be fun to explore. One time, my friend had convinced me to wear a pair of glossy leopard print “pleather” trousers, and a raincoat material snotty green t-shirt. I thought it would be an ache on the eyes, but the noise that I was making walking around in it was somehow worse. I sounded like a rubber duck in a Tesco carrier bag.

two women trying on clothes that may be slightly out of their comfort zone.

But you know what, trying on the most outlandish thing I can find in the shop for a laugh actually has taken away that little fear of trying on clothes that are outside of my comfort zone. I do feel like I’m far less afraid to try on clothes that are a little more colourful or show another side of me.

2. Try and have one outfit every week that you’ve planned beforehand & thought about it before wearing it

Time isn’t always a friend for us, and choosing an outfit if you have a touch of clothing anxiety can really take a lot of time and mental strain.

If you have a free moment, why not take a glance through your wardrobe and pick out an outfit that you like. Whether that’s a nice top or an unusual dress. And then, tell yourself you’re going to wear it on a specific day. You have it planned, decided, and then you still just need to throw it on the morning of that day. Less of a panic that morning, and no time wasted in the haste of that morning rush.

3. Being frugal can add to your body positivity!

One of the main reasons that a lot of us will be put off from going to go and buy new clothes probably comes down to the price tag. New clothes require disposable income that, most of us, otherwise don’t have.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. As long as you’re willing to try out using second-hand clothes.

Maybe try visiting charity shops for your new outfits. Following the lockdowns, a lot of people were having sort outs of their wardrobe out of sheer boredom. This means that the charity shops are overrun with new clothes. And they’re nice clothes too. The last time I went to a charity shop, the changing room was shut. But, when you buy any clothes, you have two weeks to return them. So you can try things on at home and bring them back if you really don’t like them.

That, and you would be surprised at how excited little ones can get at visiting charity shops. It’s like a hidden trove of random pre-loved belongings, and they’ll be fascinated by the aged books or fossils like “CD’s” and “VHS tapes” 😉 . It makes for a fun activity to take your kids to too!

4. Donate or bin some of those old comfort clothes to feel more body positive

For me, one of the hardest issues I was coming across was actually wearing the new clothes I was buying. I dropped down three sizes, loaded my wardrobe up with cheap, cheerful and cute clothes that I could wear. And then proceeded to continue wearing my “holy hoodie”. As in, the hoodie that no longer had a pocket, just a flap and one big hole.

It made me feel a little too panicked to actually just wear some new clothes. I was worried about judgement constantly. And I realised that the only way I was going to actually start wearing my new clothes would be if I got rid of my old ones.

There’s a few things out there you can do with maternity clothes if they’re still in pretty good nick. If you want to make a bit of money off of them but if you don’t want to put too much energy into the selling of the clothes, then using the Facebook marketplace or join some buy and sell Facebook groups that are for specifically maternity clothes or baby/toddler products are a good way to go. For example, a popular group is Maternity clothes buy/sell UK (if you want to check them out!). Or try selling on apps like Vinted or Depop.

Woman donating old clothes to charity and encouraging body positivity

However, if you’d like to simply get rid of them, donating them is probably the best way to go! You have quite a few options for this. You could donate them to charity shops. Or, some local churches collect maternity clothes and baby supplies to directly provide for those in the community who may not be able to afford them. There’s also a lot of brands now have started doing “Recycling schemes” that often cover postage and donate to charities.

Have a look around, and see what has the most appeal to you.

5. You are not supposed to fit clothes. Clothes are supposed to fit you.

As much as we can advise people to wear clothes that are away from the realm of a “comfort hoodie”, we should also advise the opposite. In order to experience more body positivity, It’s important that you don’t try and squeeze into something that’s too tight. Especially if it’s just because it says it’s your usual clothing size.

You’ll spend the whole time you’re wearing it fidgeting and messing around with it, trying to make it sit right on your body. But, of course, this isn’t exactly going to make you feel confident while you’re wearing it, as you’ll constantly be thinking about it.

It may make you feel bad sometimes if what is your usual clothing size, for whatever reason, doesn’t fit you. But clothing sizes are finicky! What one brand measures as a size M, another brand measures it as an XL.

At the end of the day, you are not supposed to fit clothes. Clothes are supposed to fit you. The only person who will be looking at the size tag is you, so don’t be afraid to go the next size up if it will make you feel comfortable while you are wearing it.

6. Don’t be afraid of your stretch marks -A lot of us have them!

I would actually go as far as to say that a lot of us should show a little bit of love to our stretch marks. We like to call them Tiger Stripes instead of stretch marks! As they are badges that show the warriors we are as mums.

You truly shouldn’t feel ashamed about stretch marks. Your body adapted to growing a baby. And it’s pretty miraculous that it was capable of doing as much. Stretch marks are perfectly natural, and believe me when I say that others won’t be judging you for having them. You may get a couple of questions from younger family members, but at the end of the day if you’re encouraging them to embrace any marks or scars on your body and not hide them away, then it’s a great message to be demonstrating.

7. Encourage body positivity for your sake and your kids

A lot of adults do tend to talk about all the flaws they see when they see themselves in photos or when they look in the mirror they tend to think the worst. We vocalise this, and we actually audibly say “Ew” or “no” or “Oh God”. But we never fight to say to ourselves what it is that we like about the way we look. Photos or otherwise!

When we have others in our company who are strongly influenced by what we say and do, we are actually demonstrating how we view ourselves and influencing them to do the same. To look at images of themselves and then focus on what it is they don’t like, instead of what it is they like. And, when that happens, it’s very easy to actually stop noticing what it is we like about our appearance altogether.

Mother and child smiling in the mirror and demonstrating body positivity

Instead of tearing ourselves down (and influencing others to do the same), we should actually try to demonstrate more strength by looking at photographs and saying things like “I love the way my hair looks in this one” or “My eyes look great in this”. It may feel strange to do this at first, but it will truly show courage and make a big change to how you start to look at pictures of yourself. You yourself are making a conscious effort to look at photographs and find something good. And in time, it will take less and less effort to spot what you like.


Practice body positivity, loving yourself, and enjoy wearing clothes!

That’s all the tips Leanne has! Thanks for reading, and hopefully there’s something you could take away from it.

At the end of the day, we’re all still trying to teach ourselves to be more body positive. It’s a long-winded uphill struggle! A lot of us are self-conscious about our bodies. But, it makes sense in that case for us to need a conscious effort to deal with it.

If you have body positivity tips, then please go and leave them in the comments of Leanne’s Instagram live: she has said that she’ll be keeping an eye out for them and taking them onboard herself.

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Be more toddler! How it could make us happier

Is loneliness a new epidemic amongst new mums? It’s a paradox because as a new mum you’re never alone (with your new baby with you every day and night) but you can also feel so very lonely.

A recent study by the Red Cross found that more than 8 in 10 mums feel lonely some of the time. Another survey by Channel Mum revealed that more than 90% of mums in the UK admit to feeling lonely since having children. A statistic that is shocking, but perhaps not surprising.

Loneliness as a new mum is something we don’t talk about enough. 3 in 5 new mums surveyed said they tried to hide their feelings and 38% have never told their partner.

In the past 18 months, as we’ve all gone through lockdowns, this epidemic of loneliness amongst new parents has surely got worse.

Nicola from Team Happity opens up about how much loneliness affected her after having her first baby. We hand over to her to tell her story:


How loneliness as a new mum took me by surprise

I’d done everything I thought possible to prepare for having a baby. I’d bought all the kit, read all the books, been to all the antenatal classes. But one thing I hadn’t prepared for was loneliness.

Loneliness as a new mum was something I’d never expected and something I hadn’t prepared for. And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I hadn’t ever felt lonely before: through school, through university and at work.

I was the first of my friends to have a baby. All my friends were busy with work and with their own lives. Suddenly I found myself alone all day, every day with just my baby for company.

I felt lonelier than ever before. And it had a huge effect on my mental health and my confidence.

Where do all the other mums go?

I found myself with every day yawning ahead of me with nowhere to go. I walked with my baby in her sling or her pram finding myself in an unchartered daytime world. I passed pensioners, hurried people on their way to goodness knows where.

I also passed other new mums pushing their prams with more purpose than me. Where were they going? How did they know where to go?

I smiled at every other mum I passed trying to put out ‘Please be friends with me’ vibes!

lonely mum staring out of the window

Accosting the postie!

As the weeks went by I found myself craving adult company. Here I was, day after day, feeding, rocking and soothing, and talking to my baby (who at this age gave very little chat back!).

I used to head out to the corner shop and talk to the till assistant for longer than was socially acceptable. And when the postman rang the bell to deliver a parcel I would strike up a conversation and keep him on the doorstep. I was just so desperate to speak to another adult human being!

Plucking up the nerves to get out there and confront loneliness as a new mum

I eventually found out details of baby classes and baby and toddler groups near me and plucked up the courage to go along to one or two each week. After weeks of being at home alone with my baby, suddenly getting back out there was daunting.

I used to have to steel myself to go. And often had to pause at the entrance to try and settle my nerves before walking into a room full of other parents. Would they all be friends and would I be left out? Would my baby be the only one that cried and then would everybody judge me?

Slowly finding my tribe

group of mums at a baby class

I didn’t make friends instantly. Often I’d feel shy and awkward in groups and leave feeling a little lonelier than before.

Things changed when I found a lovely baby music group that was warm and welcoming. There was time at the end of each class to have a cuppa and chat.

Having babies is a great leveller. I think we were all feeling lonely to some degree and we all wanted to share our stories with other parents who might ‘get it’.

I soon found that over cups of tea we were sharing birth stories and breastfeeding struggles; tales of sleep deprivation and new mum worries. Over time we opened up more and more. Feeling OK to admit we were having a tough day or that we’d had a cry just before class after an exhausting morning where the baby just wouldn’t stop crying.

I began to look forward to Wednesdays as ‘baby music days’. And over time, as we swapped numbers, the other days of the week were filled with coffee dates and walks in the park.


Nicola spoke about loneliness as a new mum over on Instagram. You can watch the Instagram video here.

Loneliness: How the pandemic affected new parents

While loneliness is something many new mums feel, things got tougher still for new parents during the pandemic. Lockdown forced new parents to tackle the challenges of bringing up a baby without the usual support network of classes, family and friends to help them.

Talking to the BBC, one mum, Zunaira from Peterborough, describes how it felt:

“It’s lonely. You lose your own self, you forget about yourself – and all the focus is on another person. Your identity goes and I fel like I was suffocating. You just want to sit in a cafe, have a bit of cake and a talk.”

Talking to The Metro, Theresa Raymond, who gave birth to her daughter just before lockdown, said:

“Not being able to let my family see my baby or have face-to-face follow-up midwife appointments have been the hardest things to adapt to. 

Especially as a first-time mum, I had this image of how it was meant to be which has been scuppered a little.”

Thank goodness that classes and groups are now back.

Find a baby class: meet others who are tackling loneliness as a new mum

Happity was set up by Sara Tateno after she herself felt lonely as a new mum. Emily Tredget, our co-founder, experienced severe PND and anxiety after having her son and one of the things that helped her recovery was getting out of the house and going to groups and classes to meet other parents.

One of our missions at Happity is to combat loneliness for new parents by connecting them though baby and toddler classes.

If you’re feeling lonely – do go along to a class or group. We know it can be daunting. But it’s definitely worth it.

Find a baby or toddler class near you here.

You might also like:

6 reasons why mums friends are so brilliant

Why baby and toddler classes are so important

9 brilliant benefits of baby and toddler classes

From nappies to changing mats, breast pumps to baby burps, there’s a lot to get to grips with as a new dad. There are so many books, online articles and antenatal classes that will help you prepare before you bring your new baby home.

However, no matter how much information you gather beforehand, there are a lot of things that might take you by surprise once your new baby arrives. But, don’t fret! You’re not alone in the way you’re feeling.

Here are some thoughts, feelings and facts we found that dads may experience when they first become parents.

1. The world suddenly seems fraught with danger!

From being concerned about whether your newborn will start choking on a toy, to panicking when your little one has their first hiccups: it’s easy to feel overly worried about the safety and wellbeing of your baby! But, it’s okay. That’s very common for a lot of new parents.

Remember: don’t ever feel silly for being worried about your baby’s safety. Newborns seem so tiny and vulnerable.

The key is to follow your gut. If something really doesn’t feel right, contact your health visitor, midwife or GP to check. Or, if you’re not 100% sure whether it’s cause for concern, contact 111 (the non-emergency NHS number that will help give you information when needed).

2. Fun fact: as a new dad, you forget what sleep is

This might be a typical trope that you see in every TV show and every film, but it doesn’t make it any less true! In the early days of parenthood, it’s very likely that you catch a lot less of your Z’s at night.

Grab any rest you can and know that it DOES get easier (honest!)

3. It isn’t just your partner who is up late feeding the baby

It’s a turn-based system for a lot of folks. If your partner is breastfeeding then perhaps you can help by changing your baby’s nappy after a feed and settling them back to sleep. If you’re bottle-feeding it’s easier to take turns and divvy up the night shift.

Sharing the responsibility can help the feeling of being a unit with your partner while also helping to experience that quality bonding time with your baby.

4. New dads, New friends

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of mum friends and how great they can be in the duration of early parenthood.

However, there’s a certain group that are just as important: dad friends!

Finding your tribe is just as important for dads as it is for mums. Shout out to the dads who make us laugh when everything feels like it’s on fire, or who don’t judge us when we are truly struggling. You guys are the best!

Two dad friends laughing together

(Read our blog on why mum (and dad) friends are so brilliant!)

5. Expect the unexpected

Despite any preparations you make in advance; no matter how many stories you hear from other dads, the unexpected will likely happen!

This will be new and unfamiliar territory, so don’t panic if something occurs that wasn’t in the books!

Just take a deep breath, relax, and follow your gut.

6. Your home will be invaded by the baby-pocalypse!

Before you had a baby, you probably didn’t realise that diaper decor was a thing, did you?

Well with the new abundance of toys scattered across the floor, baby gates in every doorway, and a spattering of new stains and smells around the house, you’re bound to know exactly what it is now!

The arrival of a baby truly does change the dynamic of a home as much as it does a family. But, if that thought worries you, don’t worry! The home you loved and decorated before is still there. It’s just a little bit buried at the moment. If you feel like you and your partner need an escape from the baby-pocalypse, perhaps it would be good to keep a room in your house that is baby-free.

Get out your “No baby toys or nappies allowed past this point!” sign and nail it firmly to the door. You and your partner need your own space. Don’t be afraid to keep hold of it.

7. If you are a new dad, you can experience PND

A lot of people may think that PND is something that can primarily affect women following the birth of their babies. However, it’s definitely something that can affect men too!

According to PANDA’s, 1 in 20 men experience depression during their partner’s pregnancy, and up to 1 in 10 men struggle with PND following the birth of their baby. That figure is a shocking one, that possibly a lot of men don’t know about. So remember, try to take care of yourself. If you notice that you are feeling uncharacteristically low or irritable, perhaps it’s time to reach out for help?

If you feel that you yourself may be struggling or dealing with PND, reach out to your local GP or contact charities like PANDAS. (Find out more at our support page here)

A new dad kissing their newborn baby

8. You will start thinking about your own mortality more and more

Up until this point, we all feel like we’re pretty invincible. You don’t often think about the dangerous side of your actions or the potential risks that may occur. But now that you have a tiny human in your care, it’s very likely that you’ll start to consider these things more and more.

It’s a good thing to consider the activities in your life that do cause risk to your being. However, it should be said that you should avoid giving up any hobbies that make you the person you are. You have a baby in your care, and they will shape the person you are a lot more. But don’t throw away all the other things you love.

9. New dad: it’s okay to feel blue sometimes – even if you don’t know why

When your partner has a lot on her plate, or the people around you seem chaotically stressed out, you sometimes push your own feelings down and put them as a “low priority”. You will continue to take on more responsibilities and might pretend that everything is fine.

But, everyone feels a little blue sometimes. Including you! You may not even truly understand why it is you feel blue or run-down. But if at all possible, you should try and be open about the way you’re feeling with others. Maybe talking about it out loud will help you identify the problem?

10. It’s okay to accept help from others

It can be difficult to accept help sometimes. We all want to feel like we can do it ourselves. But, when it comes to having a new baby in the house, there’s just so much that needs to be done!

If someone offers to watch the baby for a day while you do some self-maintenance, or perhaps sends you a meal they’ve prepared or other supplies – take it! People are more than happy to help, and it will possibly feel refreshing to have an extra pair of hands nearby.

11. Regardless of how stressful and tired you both may be, you and your partner still support and care for one another

Who was it that said having a baby is like chucking a grenade into a marriage? The beginning period of parenthood can be a busy and tiring time. Both you and your partner may be stressed beyond any limit that you thought either of you could reach before.

However, despite any standoffish or stressful situations that the two of you may encounter, you both are in this together! You are a team, and remember that you both still love and care for one another. The two of you just produced a tiny little human together! You’re both miracle workers, and should reassure each other of that if and when you can.

A new dad and new mum embracing their newborn baby

12. New Dad: you need a support system too

A lot of women are told to keep a support system in place during parenthood. This might be a friendship group, or a “tribe” that they have met at baby or toddler group.

However, you need that too! Perhaps it’s time that you go out and try to find your tribe! Why not take your little one to a baby class? Don’t worry, regardless of how they may market towards women, they are all more than welcoming towards dads too!

Find a baby group to join today!

13. Finances could be on your mind a lot more now

This one is probably one you started to realise during the pregnancy period, but babies are expensive! Suddenly you’re picking up the cheaper brand in the supermarket, and deciding whether or not to cancel that Netflix subscription.

Whilst it’s a very good idea to try and find some new money-saving hacks, you definitely shouldn’t stop putting money into things that make you happy or help you relax.

There’s a lot of good places you can find money-saving advice, watching programmes by financial journalists like Martin Lewis, or even booking an appointment with a financial consultant if you really need it. There are answers and advice out there – try not to let it occupy your mind too much!

14. Don’t feel bad for needing time away from your baby as a new dad

It’s only human to need some space every once in a while. With the arrival of a new baby, it sometimes might simultaneously feel like you’re never alone but also, surprisingly, isolated. We need other adults in our life.

Don’t feel bad though. It’s incredibly likely that your partner feels the same way themselves! Maybe try deciding a few times and days where you can take it in turns to look after your baby while the other goes to see some other adults. It’s easy to feel guilty, but sometimes we need some time away from our little ones to be the best parents we can be.

15. You didn’t realise how much you could love another human until you had a baby

During the prenatal period, it’s very easy to get swept up in the rush and the frantic chaos of pregnancy. You have got used to “The Bump”. And, perhaps, you haven’t yet been able to fully recognise “The Bump” as another human yet.

But, there’s a special moment that a lot of parents experience once the baby has arrived. You see their face, their very little body that you feel like you have to be extra careful approaching. You hold your hand out towards them, and then their tiny little hand takes hold of what seems like a titanic finger in comparison. Their hand grips onto it so tightly that it catches your breath.

It’s in that moment that you realise that in front of you is possibly the most perfect little human that you’ve ever seen. And you never want them to let go.

A baby's hand is gripping hold of a new dad's forefinger.

Well, these are the new dad facts, thoughts and feelings that we found out about! Did you relate to any of them?

What have we missed in our list? What unexpected thoughts and feelings did you go through when you first became a new dad?

If you liked this post, you might also like:

Mum friends (And 6 reasons why they’re so brilliant!)

Be More Toddler! How it could make us happier

9 Brilliant Benefits of Baby and Toddler Classes

Baby and toddler groups are back on. But what a rollercoaster it’s been during the last 18 months or so. Both for class providers and for new parents.

This week a new report from the House of Commons Petition Committee has been published. Amongst other things, it looks back on the issues raised when guidelines were not clear for baby and toddler groups. As well as every time lockdown restrictions were lifted, and furthermore the lessons we must learn going forward. But the report covers so many more aspects of the impact on parents including ‘mental health services’, ‘workplace discrimination & redundancy’ and ‘recovery funding and the “baby blind spot”’ (just to list a few!).

The new HoC report looking back on this journey

A new report has just been published (in October 2021).

This was following the House of Commons Petitions Committee hearing evidence from panellists about the issues faced by both parents and baby and toddler group providers during the pandemic. It outlines the confusion about support groups being listed as exempt from restrictions:

“Since last autumn, Government guidance has allowed up to 30 people to meet as a “support group” (specifically including parent and baby groups), in an exemption from restrictions on gatherings. Witnesses suggested that while this exemption had been “really helpful” in giving some groups the confidence to restart, many others had not done so, depriving parents of what Dr McMullen described as “a vital safety net”.

HoC Petitions Committee

5 babies laying on  Matt in a circle after the pandemic, during a baby and/or toddler group

Emily suggested parent and baby group organisers were wary of restarting classes following negative experiences last winter. Even with such groups having been exempted from restrictions on gatherings and now the removal of legal restrictions. She told the committee:

We did a survey and it said that 24% [of providers] are still very confused as to whether they can go back. Some of them are quite traumatised from their experience back in November. We were telling them that they were allowed, the DfE was telling them that they were allowed. But still, their councils were coming in, forcibly in some cases, with police, shutting them down […] We definitely need to look at what we do going forward, in case there are any further issues.

-Emily Tredget

How the closure of groups affected parents

The impact of not being able to run classes on providers is clear. But the lack of face to face classes and the support they provide had a massive impact on parents too. The report found that:

Witnesses were also concerned the pandemic may have a long-term scarring effect on the provision of community-led support groups and parent and baby groups. Emily Tredget suggested parent and baby group providers had seen an average drop of 63% in their revenues over the last 12 months. While Dr McMullen cited figures from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) suggesting many charities organising such groups had also seen financial losses. We heard that families in more deprived areas may be particularly affected by the loss of such services.

-HoC Petitions Committee

Mother at a Mum/Baby & toddler yoga group, with her baby in a sling

The road ahead for baby and toddler groups after the pandemic

We’re at the stage where many (almost the majority) of legal restrictions that were put in place before have been lifted. And that means so many more baby and toddler classes are back and running in person again. Which is just fantastic!

Class providers carry out their own risk assessments to make sure classes are safe and secure. And, as always, are welcoming and fun for parents and their little ones.

We all hope that we’ve seen the last of lockdowns (please!). But there are important things to learn if we do face them again. The report summarises:

Our inquiry last year heard compelling evidence on the crucial role of community support and parent and baby groups in supporting new parents’ wellbeing. The Government’s recognition of this in exempting such groups from some gathering restrictions last year was very welcome. However, the Government must now do more to clarify how organisers of these groups and classes can offer these services in a safe and responsible way following the lifting of most legal restrictions. The Government should produce clear and dedicated guidance for organisers of community and charity-run support groups (including parent and baby groups) on how they can safely restart and continue classes in a covid-safe way. It should work with group organisers, local authorities and other relevant sector stakeholders to develop this guidance and ensure it is widely communicated. 

-HoC Petitions Committee

Have you been back to baby and toddler groups after the pandemic?

Have you been to a baby or toddler class since restrictions were lifted? We know (from following so many class providers on social media) just how delighted they are to be back. And they’ve been sharing lovely feedback from the parents who are loving being back in class too.

Search Happity today to find baby or toddler classes near you.

Feeling a bit nervous about going back? You don’t need to be:

We are all breathing that gentle sigh of relief when we see the daily coronavirus figures decline. The starting glimpses of returning to some form of normality is a HUGE reassurance. But, for a lot of us, even though “freedom day” has come and gone, we’re still feeling on-edge. A lot of us are struggling with post-lockdown anxiety, and are struggling to relax or believe that it is truly safe to go anywhere.

Things are uncertain. However, closing off from the outside world isn’t the answer. It will actually make you more anxious if you keep yourself in a lockdown.

But, if you’re looking for a few ways to start dealing with your post-lockdown anxiety, where do you begin?

Here are some approachable ways that might start to ease your post-lockdown anxiety. Hope they help!

1. Start introducing a regular daily routine (that includes leaving the house)

It was a very different lifestyle for us when the UK was living in lockdown. Yet, as much as there was fear about the figures we were hearing daily on the news, we also had a small sense of security that we could keep it out as long as we remained indoors.

With restrictions lifting, and more people going outside again, that sense of security is slipping away. So, really, it makes sense as to why we would feel frightened of the change. However, a good way of trying to ease that post-lockdown anxiety includes adding routine to our day and trying to leave the house at least once a day. Even if you leave the house, take your little one for a walk around the block, and then go home again. You’ll feel better for the fresh air, and you will give yourself a gradual reassurance that letting the outside world into your home is not necessarily a bad thing.

2. Mindfulness/meditation/breathing exercises

When we’re feeling tense and anxious, it can be quite difficult to come down from that heightened emotion. We can sometimes find ourselves in a downwards spiral if we continue to dwell in our thoughts. However, a good method of climbing back out again is by practicing mindfulness, meditation and/or breathing exercises.

The NHS have a page on mindfulness, and stated the following about how mindfulness can help our mental wellbeing:

Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better.
When we become more aware of the present moment, we begin to experience afresh things that we have been taking for granted.

It’s a great idea to start taking conscious efforts to practice any of the three above ideas. Even if you aren’t feeling particularly anxious! It may not fully work straight away, but with practice, you will really feel the benefits of taking 5 or 10 minutes out of your day to focus on your mental health.

Meditation with a mother and daughter  sitting on a sofa.

If you’re interested in more ways to explore mindfulness, check out our previous blog “mindfulness for mums“.

3. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling post-lockdown anxiety

It’s very easy to feel ashamed or embarrassed for feeling anxious post-lockdown, especially if you are seeing and hearing about other people going out and “getting back to normal” again. However, the downfall for most of us when it comes to how we feel about ourselves is the way we compare ourselves with others. It’s very easy to see that others are coping just fine and to be angry or upset with ourselves for not being the same.

But, the more you beat yourself, the more upset and anxious you are going to feel. And then, you will find yourself caught in an endless loop. So, here’s the reminder you need to read (and try to say out loud to yourself) when you feel upset with yourself for feeling anxious:

You are your own person. You have your own feelings, your own thoughts and your own worries. What others can cope with right now may not be the same as what you can cope with. But there are many things that you are able to cope with, and you should hold your chin high for that. Be proud of being honest, considerate, and wonderful you.

4. Remind yourself, and establish, the areas in your life where you have control

There has been a lot of negative changes following the coronavirus outbreak. Major life-affecting changes that haven’t fully left us. It constantly feels like another lockdown is looming around the corner. The world hasn’t gone back to “normal” yet, and it’s possible that we will never return to the way things were!

…Those thoughts have probably crossed your mind a few times by now, haven’t they? The problem with these worrisome thoughts is that they are issues that are out of our control. It’s sort of similar to when parents may feel anxiety while their children are growing up and start behaving unpredictably/making their own decisions. When there are areas in our life that are out of our control, things can feel terrifying!

Feeling a lack of control can make us feel quite helpless. So one of the ways we can try to ease this element of anxiety is to remind ourselves of all the aspects in our lives we do have control over. Write down the elements in your life that you are in charge of. Make a note and think of the things that can change and improve because of your actions. This could include: physical health, your routine, designated playtime with your children, time with your partner, “me” time, who you associate with, learning/improving a new skill, the way you eat, the way you sleep or, plain and simply, the way you appreciate others and the way you think about yourself.

Remind yourself that these things are down to you! And then consciously make an effort to establish them in your life again. You are still in control of these things in your life, and try not to forget them.

5. Limit (and monitor) the amount of news and social media posts you read

We all remember that moment when we were all sat at home with our families. Hearing the PM instruct us that we must remain indoors… It was a crazy and confusing time (it still is!). And, as a result of that, we were all glued to our TV’s and our phones, waiting with bated breath to find out the next update.

We all clocked in more screen time, obsessed with finding out daily figures and hearing any fresh news on the subject. But despite the fact that we aren’t in lockdown, that problem hasn’t gone away. A lot of us still monitor our local figures on a near day-to-day basis. But, doing so is just making us more frightened anytime today’s figures are a few higher than yesterday.

So perhaps it is time for us to consciously limit the amount of this sort of media we are consuming. By limiting the amount that we are reading about this matter, the less that the pandemic may be on our minds. You do not need to block out the information completely, but reducing the amount you are consuming will do wonders!

A faceless figure holds a cup of coffee as she reads the news by social media, something that doing too much of can lead to post-lockdown anxiety

6. Set boundaries, but don’t avoid the world!

No one knows your comfort zones better than you do. It’s easy enough to stick inside them, but if “staying in your comfort zone” means never walking out of your front door, then you may have a problem!

We’re not advising that you dive head-first into a football-stadium-sized crowd, maskless and sharing drinks with friendly, but loudly howling, strangers. Keep your boundaries! If it makes you feel more comfortable, continue to stay away from crowded locations and request eating in outdoor seating areas. Wear your facemask and sanitise your hands after walking out of every shop you’ve been in.

Do what makes you feel protected- but don’t shut the world out.

7. Tell class providers about your post-lockdown anxiety

With the lift of the mandatory mask-wearing rule, a lot of people have put off attending events or going to public places. It may have put you off attending a baby or toddler class that you regularly go to. However, this is something that can probably be approached by simply reaching out and talking to your class provider.

Ask questions such as “how do you run your risk assessments” or “what are you doing to stay covid-safe”. Tell them that you feel a little bit anxious. They will be able to discuss with you what precautions you can both put in place to make you feel as comfortable as they can. Perhaps request to sit near a window or bring in your own mat to sit on.

Reach out to your favourite class providers on Happity, and see what they will do to help you with this!

8. Small, slow and steady changes

No one said that everything has to change all at once! Yes, that did happen way back when we were first being shut into our houses. But that doesn’t mean that you have to change back just as quickly.

You need to follow your own pace. If something feels like too fast of a change for you, then that’s okay! Move to the beat of your own drum. And if the rhythm you play is a little bit slower than others, don’t fret about it. Make the right changes as slow or as fast as you want.

You just need to listen to your instincts and approach new situations when you are ready for them.

9. Seek support for post-lockdown anxiety

If you are looking for more tips on how you can start to deal with your post-lockdown anxiety, then the NHS have provided their own list of tips. There’s some great advice on there that you should check out!

However, if you are finding yourself particularly struggling, then we strongly recommend reaching out to your GP or contacting a charity to talk to someone. Find more information here.

Remember, we’re still in uncertain times, and you are valid for feeling wary and anxious. Take things at your own pace, but try not to block out everything and everyone. Look after yourselves!

What does a mum with PND look like? It might not be the one you expect. She might be the mum you meet at a toddler group who looked like she’s got it all together. Or the mum you passed on the street who smiled and looked so happy.

The truth is you might never know how another mum is REALLY feeling. So be kind! Always.

1. The mother with the biggest smile in the room

When you think of someone who has depression you expect them to look sad or down. But a mum with PND might have the brightest smile in the room. Why? Because she might be putting on a mask. And making a really big effort to hide her true feelings.

2. The one who looks like they’ve got it all together

A mum with PND might look like someone who has got the hang of this parenting gig and appears to do it with ease. She might post photos to social media where she and her baby look so happy and content. You might even see those pics and feel a little envious of how easily she seems to have slotted into her new role as a mama.

Remember that social media never tells the whole story. The mum you think is bossing it might really be struggling behind closed doors. She might also be doing both!

busting the myths of postnatal depression

3. The one who is chatty and engaged when you meet them

You might expect a mum with PND is withdrawn and disengaged. But she might be friendly and chatty when you meet her. The truth is it might have taken a lot of strength and energy for her to get out and be with others. And she might be putting in her all to chat and engage to find support but to also hide her PND – especially with those she’s just met.

4. The one who looks amazing

You met a mum who looked amazing. Dressed immaculately, her smile enhanced by a slick of lippy. Hair looking fab. You cannot always tell who has depression by her outward appearance. She might have put her best look on to raise her confidence before leaving the house.

6. The mum who is surrounded by family and friends

You might know or meet a mum who has family nearby who are super supportive and who has loads of amazing friends. And think that they must be so happy and well.

It can certainly help, but even being surrounded by an army of caring people that love you is sometimes no shield for PND.

Those suffering might be surrounded by a load of people who care but still feel isolated and alone.

7. The mother you LEAST expect to have PND

The truth is that you might not know who is struggling with their mental health. Unless they tell you.

Sometimes those suffering choose not to tell many people about their struggles.

PND – behind the mask

There is still too much stigma and too many myths surrounding PND. Many mums might feel a misplaced feeling of shame or a fear of judgement if they admit they are suffering.

They might feel alone and lonely.

They might not know how to ask for help. Or just not have the energy to reach out.

Support for PND

Sometimes the hardest and bravest step when you have PND is asking for help. When you take that step you are one step closer to recovery. And PND is 100% recoverable.

Find out where to get help and support

We always recommend Pandas as a wonderful place to get support. And APNI.

We also have some amazing classes listed on Happity that support mums with PND. Head to Happity to find classes near you.

…and why we need to stop pretending it is!

Self care for mums is NOT going to the shops alone, it’s NOT having a shower without the kids being an audience, it’s NOT cleaning the house without the kids around. All these things are NOT self care and we all need to stop pretending they are.

The viral meme that made mums stop in their tracks

Recently we posted this infographic on our social media, which had a huge response:

self care for mums

It really hit a nerve. And had hundreds of likes and shares. Some of the responses from mums included:

‘Agreed although going to the loo without an audience does feel like a luxury sometimes!!’

‘I’m so guilty of most of these being my time to me’

‘I even said to my husband the other day when I got back from a rather unpleasant dentist appt that it was a bit like going for a spa day as I got to lie down and someone touched my face’

Self care – pre-kids

Before you had a baby if your friend asked you what you’d done to take a little bit of time out for you to recharge your batteries there’s NO chance you’d have said: ‘I went to Tescos last night. It was really relaxing and really energised me’. So why do we feel like any mundane everyday task we get to do without our kids is self care?

What IS self care?

self care for mums

Put simply, self care is choosing and making the time to do little things for you that recharge your batteries and re-energise you. It’s finding the time to do things that make you happy; things that boost your physical and mental well being; taking time to do things that make you feel good. 

Doing the weekly food shop or cleaning the kitchen when your kids are not around do not fit into this description of self care. It might be easier to do these kinds of errands or chores without a child hanging off your ankle but they don’t make you feel like you’ve taken a little time for you.

You wouldn’t let your phone battery run low

Once we become mums we put so much (all?) of our energy into looking after our child and keeping the household running and our own needs can all too easily be put to the back of the queue. Life’s busy. There’s always something that demands your attention and your time. And you can feel guilty for making time for something that seems a bit self indulgent – such as reading a book, going for a walk or carving out time to paint or craft. 

But if you always put your needs last and neglect making time for self care then you can become frazzled and worn out and low on batteries. And that’s not good for you OR your children. It’s an overused phrase but a happy mum – happy baby is so very true.

The more you take time for self care the better you’ll feel and the better mum you’ll be.

Mamas, make that time for you!

Drop the mum guilt and make time for self care. Each day and each week. There are lots of small ways you can build it into your busy life. It’s just about making it a priority.

Watch our video all about self care

Recently we had a brilliant Facebook Live Happity Expert Talk all about self care and why it is so important for mums. With Kim Golson from @mylifeafterbirth. You can still watch it back in our Facebook group for mums. Not a member? We’d love you to join.

If you have a clingy baby or toddler it can feel harder still to make time for self care. Here are some top tips to help.

Do you run classes for mums-to-be, new parents or parents and babies? Or are you a parent that would love your provider to help support your mental wellness?

If so – this is the perfect opportunity for you. Enhance your classes by putting their mental wellbeing at the heart of what you do.

Pregnancy, birth and new parenthood are transitional times in our lives. While wonderful, they can bring with them feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability. Right now, after a year in the grip of a pandemic – the need to support parental mental wellbeing is greater than ever before.

This is why we are excited to tell you about Beyond Birth – a training opportunity for providers to help support parents’ mental wellbeing.

Easy and enjoyable online training

Beyond Birth offer online Mental Wellbeing Practitioner Certified Training that is both enjoyable and easy. The training will teach you how to Prevent, Protect and Preserve Parental mental health. You will be able to show parents how to bring in simple, effective wellbeing practices into daily life.

The course will teach you how to incorporate practices like mindfulness, relaxation, journalling and affirmations into the work you already do. To make the parents in your class, their babies and children and you feel better.

Why supporting parental mental wellbeing is so important

Beyond Birth Mental Wellbeing Practitioner Training will allow you to enhance what you offer already in your classes. It will allow you to connect on a deeper level with parents. It will also enhance the bonds between parents in your group whilst managing and maintaining their mental wellbeing and subsequently their babies.

Of course, the more you learn about simple practices to increase mental well being the more you learn to adapt them in your own life too. Simple practices can add up to big changes in the mental wellbeing of the parents and children in your classes – and in you too!

When you register your interest you will be invited to a Free Workshop on why it’s vital to bring mental wellbeing into your practice and how to do this simply, and effectively.

Small online wellbeing training workshops that fit into your life

Beyond Birth keep their workshops small so that you will really feel part of a group and can get the most out of Sophie’s expertise. You can train over a weekend or train in instalments – whatever fits in best for you.

Sign up for the FREE Perinatal Mental Health Workshop & Beyond Birth Training Waitlist here.

About Beyond Birth and Sophie, the Mamma Coach

Sophie Burch - the Mamma Coach, maternal mental health

Beyond Birth is run by Sophie Burch, aka the Mamma Coach, who has over 14 years experience working in the birth and baby world. She set up Beyond Birth to bring her wealth of experience to parents and practitioners. She says:

“I’m on a mission to help as many people as I can to have a more balanced experience of birth, parenting and transitional times in life”

Sophie is a mother of 4 boys. She has over 11 years experience as a Hypnobirthing Practitioner, IAIM Baby Massage Teacher, IFA Aromatherapist, Holistic and Pregnancy Massage therapist, Usui Reiki therapist and ex-professional singer. All rolled into one: she’s The Mamma Coach! (Fully accredited by the CNHC, General Hypnotherapy Register, GHRsc and fully insured).

Raring to go! Sign up now

The next live training is now 18/19 September 2021. Can’t wait until then? You can start now with self paced online training and can start running groups as soon as you want to.

Sign up for the FREE Perinatal Mental Health Workshop & Beyond Birth Training Waitlist here.

Disclaimer: Beyond Birth pays a small fee for providers who go on to do the full training.