On Wednesday, Charlotte and I attended our first Mama’s Talk hosted by the lovely Jo from Baby Mindful Harrogate at Starlings Independent Café. I’ve been following Jo for a while on Instagram and was really intrigued by her Mama Talk’s sessions, being a Mum who has a keen interest in talking about mental health not just aimed at Mums but in general, this was right up my street.
Since a young age, I have always had a big interest in mental health issues after having suffered with depression during my teens and early twenties. I am also very close to people who have suffered their mental health for many years therefore even at a young age, it’s something I was keen to talk more about as I never understood why people didn’t talk about it. It’s such a sigh of relief for me that we are now in a society where we are finally beginning to open up about our struggles, taking off the mask of perfection and sharing our experiences and struggles. It so so important that attitudes towards mental health change in order for our generation as well as future generations to feel confident and open about their struggles in order to get the help and support they deserve.
The Mama’s Talk was made up of 3 panellist Mums who were sharing their experiences of motherhood and the ups and downs that they have experienced along the way. First up was Emma Chapman from Emma Chapman Counselling, Emma was extremely open and honest about her struggles as a mother and how hard she found those early days and feeling that sense of failure that she couldn’t do it all. Her advice was really resonating with me as she said ‘Don’t be perfect’ and it’s absolutely true, many women often feel guilty that they can’t do it all and its very unrealistic to think that we can. We need to focus on what is most important to us as individuals and try not to compare ourselves to anyone else. Emma’s incredible research paper on trauma and the effects that therapy can have is due to be published soon!
Next up was Harriet Shearsmith of Toby and Roo. Harriet is an extremely successful blogger based in North Yorkshire and she is very well known for being very open and honest about her journey through motherhood. She emphasised the importance of being your own person and that it’s best to try communicate with people on a human level – my hero! She went on to tell a story about a family trip to Disneyland and on one particular day, the children just ruined it by fighting and arguing. She put this on Instagram as a post to show that, despite being in one of the most exciting places in the world, children do play up and mothers (and fathers) have a crap time as a result! So refreshing and relatable in many ways. Harriet also discussed how she often suffers from anxiety and sometimes has quite dark thoughts about something negative happening to one of the children, something that I was able to relate to completely. I’ve not come across many people who have openly admitted to this and I was grateful that she did as it made me feel like it wasn’t just me. Like myself, watching certain TV programs often lead Harriet to have thoughts about how to protect the children should that scenario arise. I’m just like that – always thinking, what if. It’s refreshing to hear someone else speak out in this way and spot the signs within yourself as it helps to overcome them.
Hannah Straughan was the final panellist to share her journey, she has 2 children and is a GP and was therefore able to share how she comes into contact with a lot of people who are needing help with their mental health. Hannah has a brilliant following on Instagram where she shares her family journey through some beautiful photography. Hannah talked about how she suffered with depression at university and how she is soon to become a full time mum again, she says that the very idea of losing the professional element to her week was quite daunting as it meant that she won’t be able to switch off from constant ever changing job that is motherhood – we can all relate! The bit about Hannah’s talk that I liked in particular was her thoughts towards social media and how people choose to only put on snippets of their life and that it wasn’t really a true representation on real life. When she said that it was important that if people struggled with social media that it was best to keep usage to a minimum and I completely agreed. It’s such a brilliant yet frightening tool as we often use it to compare our lives to others when in fact, we aren’t seeing the whole picture yet it’s still sometimes hard to accept that, that is in fact true!
At the end of the talk we had a brilliant Q and A session where mothers in the audience shared their experiences as well as things that they used in order to look after their mental health and general wellbeing. I partially loved the section ‘Shits and Giggles’ where we all got chance to share a shit story and funny story – it was very refreshing, funny and heart wrenching all in one.
Charlotte and I had a wonderful time with Charlotte spending most of her time in the play area whilst shouting with glee! Despite being a little nervous about what to expect, I absolutely loved the event and gave myself a little tap on the back for going!
If you want to find out more about Jo or any of the panellists they are all on Instagram –
Mama Talks Host Jo @babymindfulharrogate
Hannah Straughan @hannah.straughan
Harriet Shearsmith @tobyandroo
Emma Chapman @emma_chapman_counselling