It has got to be said that my life, since being diagnosed with PND and Postnatal Psychosis, has been pretty surreal and without pulling any punches, it has at times been down-the-rabbit-hole-type-of-crazy. The surreal and crazy I went through for the majority of my time with these illnesses, was not the good kind of surreal and crazy. It was not the type that you pinch yourself as you can’t believe your luck in going through them, but more the terrifying and downright debilitating as you pinch yourself to try and wake yourself up from the hell you are finding yourself in every day only to realise this nightmare is one you cannot actually wake up from as it is your life.
HOWEVER, my lovely friends, HOWEVER. For the last year and a half I have felt as though the tides are a changing and that when I now use the adjectives of “crazy” and “surreal” I am now using them in a positive light. I am now talking about the good crazy and the inspirational surreal.
This crazy and surreal reached a whole new level this week, when I was invited by the amazing charity Mind to attend their “Raising the Bar for Mental Health” Event being held at the Houses of Commons. I was invited to this prestigious event to represent my region and to talk to fellow campaigners and MPs on my experiences and offer advice on how we can improve Maternal Mental Health services for mums and their families across the UK.
As I queued to gain entrance to the building under the watchful eye of Big Ben I felt an unbelievable sense of calm and adventure. I felt proud of how far I had come. The terrifying parts of my mind I have had to face all of a sudden turned into hurdles I had cleared and the heartbreaking situations me and my husband have quite literally dragged ourselves through instead of filling me with self-loathing and a fear for our future filled me with heart bursting pride and admiration for how far we’d come and excited for where we are yet to go.
Walking through the hallowed halls of the Houses of Parliament, taking in all the sounds, smells and the buzz of meetings taking place on the stone staircases, the TV crew preparing for their next interview and MPs rushing to their next meetings, I heard the click of my heels on those stone floors and I felt driven to make a difference. I felt ready.
I was seated at the West Midlands table and met some truly inspirational people, who like myself, had lived experience of mental health and/or were working in the fields of mental health and all driven by a shared passion to make a difference in the services and information currently available across the UK. Over 50 MPs attended the event and we also heard talks from Jackie Doyle-Price, Conservative MP for Thurrock and Minister for Care and Mental Health; Barbara Keeley, Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South and Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care. To me, venturing into the world of politics in relation to Mental Health, was a truly fascinating day and one that has fuelled my desire to drive The Every Mum Movement forward even more.
It was with this fire in my belly that as the event was drawing to a close I wanted to ensure that the brave stories that the mums from The Every Mum Movement had shared, on their own personal stories of maternal mental health and their advice on the improvements that needed to be made to the current services offered in the UK, got into the right hands. Were read by somebody who could and does make a difference.
I therefore, asked one of the lovely Mind representatives if I could speak to the most influential person in the room and she kindly introduced me to the CEO of Mind, Paul Farmer. I spoke to Paul about my experiences of maternal mental health, how Mind had played a big part in helping me to talk about my experiences and how this combined with the support of the amazing women on my blog and The Every Mum Facebook group had helped me battle my demons and insecurities which lead me to getting my book published and lead me to setting up The Every Mum Movement. I explained to Paul about all the amazing mums who are a part of The Every Mum Movement and how they had bravely shared their stories and advice and that I now wanted him to take these stories away with him, to read them and use them to make a difference. Paul told me he was going to read them and as I watched him place the stories into his bag, I felt that I had done my Every Mum, Mums proud, I had given their stories a voice and most importantly that their voices are going to be heard. Now you all know that I am nothing if not determined, therefore, I will be getting in touch with Paul to ask if he’s read them and to hopefully get some feedback from him.
The day was a monumental day for me and The Every Mum Movement, as it has fuelled the fire in my belly to do all that I can to drive the movement forward to ensure Every Mum is empowered to take care of their Maternal Mental Health. It has filled me with a renewed confidence in what I am doing and has helped me forge some exciting plans for the future of the movement which will be announced over the coming weeks (watch this space!).
On a personal note it has given me a huge insight into who I am now. I now, no longer feel like the victim of my illness. I no longer feel that I am suffering at the hands of my maternal mental health. I instead feel like the victor, that despite everything the illness took from me that I have also gained an invaluable amount of positive things through it too. I now, no longer feel like I am suffering at the hands of it but rather blossoming because of it and ready to take on the next chapter of my life.
Thank you to all of you who have been a huge part of what I am doing so far, for your continued support and for being just down right awesome!
I would LOVE you to come and join me on the next part of the journey and join The Every Mum Movement by liking The Facebook page, following me on Facebook, Instagram and signing up to the movement on the website.
If you would like to join the closed Facebook group called The Every Mum Club please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heres to helping spread the message that Every Mum Deserves the Right to Enjoy Motherhood!
Love Liv xx
The Every Mum