Real Life

Mum blogger gets real about mental health in motherhood

Katie Kirby, the mum behind blog Hurrah For Gin, has written about how it can be hard to be the perfect mum ALL the time

In our social media-obsessed world, it feels as though there's more pressure on parents to be perfect that is coming from totally new places.

We look on Facebook and Instagram at mums who seem to have a literally perfect life - clean, happy and well-behaved children with a clean, happy and well-behaved mum - but that's not how any of us actually feel.

So to see people like Giovanna Fletcher and other mummy bloggers posting photos of their actual real lives, with grubby, angry and (temporarily) badly-behaved children can really boost the confidence of everyday mums who can often feel like they're failing or falling behind.

One mum who is determined to be honest and upfront about motherhood is Katie Kirby, the writer behind mummy blog Hurrah For Gin.

And if the title of the blog doesn't call to you, quite frankly we're worried about you. (Not really, we're only messing with ya.)

Katie Kirby is the writer behind Hurrah For Gin (Credit: Facebook/ Hurrah For Gin)

We know that as soon as we give birth, we're meant to feel this GINORMOUS rush of love for the tiny creature we've created and feel immensely grateful to the universe that everything went well.

And for a lot of mums, that absolutely is the case.

But not all mums can feel that way - and Katie Kirby wants to help eradicate the stigma around mental health in motherhood.

Katie's blog has been so successful that she has now written a book (Credit: Facebook/ Hurrah For Gin)

In a Facebook post that has been shared over 13,000 times, she wrote about how she was fed up of being told how she "should" feel.

She wrote: "I get comments on here sometimes from people who don't understand, people who get upset about some of the things I say. They vary of course but the underlying theme is always the same: 'You should be grateful for your children!'"

Revealing that she actually lost a child, she said: "When I had my first son I went through a difficult time, having previously lost our first pregnancy, a little girl diagnosed with conditions incompatible with life, I put myself under a lot of pressure to be the perfect mum (and yes I do feel very uneasy writing that in a Facebook post)."

Katie's two sons (Credit: Facebook/ Hurrah For Gin)

Katie continued: "'I should be so grateful!' I thought. 'I am so lucky to have a beautiful baby, some people never get this opportunity.'

"But I didn’t always feel grateful. Some days it felt so hard. I made myself sick with the overwhelming guilt that I was not doing a good enough job, that I was not a good enough mum. I thought there was something wrong with me."

Katie made herself ill with all the worrying: "And soon enough there was... I developed severe insomnia and anxiety and started having panic attacks."

She was honest about chomping on her children's Easter eggs! (Credit: Facebook/ Hurrah For Gin)

Katie then asks what might have helped her, listing all sorts of things that would have made her life much easier: "It would have helped if I had felt less alone, it would have helped if I knew other people had those feelings too, it would have helped if I could have seen through the glossy magazines and happy, smiley Instagram photos and found an honest voice.

"Different things allow different people to cope but this much I now know:

  1. Telling other people how they 'should' think, or how they 'should' feel is bloody dangerous.
  2. Being grateful 24/7 is unrealistic and exhausting.
  3. It's ALWAYS better to talk. Talking and asking for help can help prevent depression and anxiety before they become serious problems.
  4. Occasionally wanting to eBay your child does not make you a bad person. It just makes you as painfully human as the rest of us.
  5. There is no such thing as 'the perfect mum'.
  6. Everybody is winging it.
  7. You are doing a brilliant job (trust me)."

Katie then alerted her followers to the fact that it is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week - the first ever. It is being run by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership (PMHP), who are focusing on how and where mums can seek help and support for their mental health. For more information on Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, click here.

Have you ever felt like a failure as a mother? Can you relate to Katie's post? Let us know over on Facebook and Twitter.

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