For new mums, learning to appreciate the mini-wins in those first early months of parenthood is a massive step and one Lancashire mother is making it her mission and business to help new parents keeping on track when it comes to their well-being and mental health
Just four weeks after giving birth to her first daughter Isabella, college teacher Emma Cottam, from Freckleton, launched her Isabella and Us website, after struggling herself with the transition into motherhood.
Emma says it was a huge relief and weight lifted when she was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression a few months later and wanted to share her story and more importantly support and help other mums celebrate even the smallest positives of the everyday.
Alongside her ‘I am winning as a mummy because’ milestone card series available through the website, Emma, who has just returned to work as a photography teacher at Blackpool and The Fylde College, also launched a new quarterly ‘Positive Wellbeing Zine for Mums’
The A5 digest Emma says is more than just a mums magazine offering invaluable inspiration, information and relaxation techniques and tools for mums.
Emma has also worked very closely with contributors from business women, small business owners to full time working mums and bloggers on a series of articles around motherhood and positive well-being alongside beautiful illustrations and photography.
Each issue focuses on the importance of mums taking much needed time out for self-care.
The 28-year-old, whose daughter Isabella is about to turn one, says the mini win cards and now the magazine came through her desire to inspire others and help focus their minds away from the negatives in life.
Emma says: “No doubt about it, I just wasn’t prepared at all for that struggle with the transition into motherhood, I hadn’t really given it much thought, so in those early days when I got that sense of something not quite being right, I put even more pressure on myself and expected to just carry on being able to do all of the things I had done before Isabella was born.
“I’d spend my days focusing on what I had not achieved, rather than what I had and this had a detrimental affect on my well-being.
“That’s why with the cards just a note to say you’ve made yourself time for a hot cup of tea and to celebrate the mini-win
“When I changed my focus and began to focus on what I had achieved, rather than what I hadn’t, I began to feel so much better.
“And with the ‘Zine’ we’re building a community where if we can help one mum not feel so isolated or confident enough to ask for help, then that’s a huge thing.
“No one had been aware just how much I was struggling but the support I had once it was in the open made such a huge difference.
After speaking to other mums online, Emma realised she was not alone in her experiences.
“As a mum it is so easy to place guilt on yourself for not having a clean house, not having done the dishes or those three loads of washing. But the honest reality is that can be difficult to achieve.”
One in three mums suffer with post-natal depression and most suffer in silence - 93 per cent of mums say they feel lonely at some point.
Emma said the first two Zine’s have been really well received with subscriptions through the site and a digital version also available.
Emma adds: “It is A5 in size with 56 pages of articles, illustrations and is the perfect size for a mum to carry around in her bag, keep in the car or on her bedside table, to take out and read when she has five minutes.
“The feedback from the first two editions has been so nice and I’ve had so many keen to get involved and share their articles.
Emma has recently shared a blog on her first year in motherhood available through the website isabellaandus.com