And the award for best actress goes to….


I feel like an actress most days.


A client said that to me the other day. That she feels like an actress playing a part of a women who has it all together when inside it’s a whole different story. I really resonated with that.


After I had Bella I took a year off but I agreed to take a few meetings with one or two key clients  just to keep my hand in over the year. The first meeting I did was when Bella was around 3 months old. I felt like absolute shit. I was by this point in the grips of what was to become a year long anxiety battle but I went anyway.  Mainly because one of my anxieties was about not being at work but that’s a whole other story!

I stuck on some heels and a semi smart top and stuck some make up on my face and off I went. I still remember it today 8 years later. We met at a hotel in Kings Cross and when I walked in, I felt nervous. For context I had been in my job 13 years when I went off to have Bella. I hadn’t felt nervous for a meeting in YEARS. And this was with a long standing client and my boss who I considered friends. And yet here I was.

I stuck a smile on my face and walked in. The first thing my boss said as he turned to my client was ‘See she looks amazing’. I don’t think he was talking about my weight, just my general attitude and overall look. I guess I looked like my ‘old’ pre baby self.

But I was far from it. The lipstick and the heels were doing a great job of masking what I was feeling inside.  I was happy to have a window into my old life, to sit in posh hotels and wear nice clothes again but I didn’t feel like the old me. I was tired, missing my baby, feeling guilty for being even  a bit happy that I was away and anxious that I didn’t know what I was doing anymore and I would get caught out.

I was also starting to do that thing that anxious people do. I was going inwards with my thinking. Running a monologue in my head that meant I wasn’t really focused on the meeting and what was being said.

I did the meeting and rushed to get the train home.  I had played the part of my old life and the old me for a few hours and now it was back to the new life and the new me.

New Year new Who?

New year new who?


Right about now people the world over are realising that they have fallen at the first hurdle. Maybe having that glass of wine when you said you wouldn’t. Missing the gym session or eating the crisps.

I have never believed in New years resolutions. In fact, I HATE new year’s altogether. New year’s resolutions are destined to fail because you are trying to be someone you are not. If on the 31st of Dec you were not the sort of person who gets up at 6 to go to the gym or the sort of person who always leaves the kitchen tidy before bed then why would you suddenly be that person when you wake on the 1st of Jan?


It doesn’t make sense. All it does is set you up to fail and to feel like shit because of it.


But wait…..


I’m not saying we shouldn’t have goals, things we want to achieve, we just need to take into account our personality types, our current season of life (more on that in a minute) and most importantly WHY we want to achieve this thing.

I find the best way to look at a new year is to have a key word. For example, your word might be HEALTH. Not about losing weight or dieting just overall being healthier.

What does that look like for you? How will you know when you have achieved it?

The next step is to think about what SMALL changes you can make that move you towards that overall aim. If the season of life you are in currently is one of babies and small children at home, is it realistic to think you can get to the gym? If it is, then great but the reality is you probably cannot. So what small step can you do that will help you move towards that goal.

Its FAR easier to complete one small step each day than try to suddenly become someone you are not overnight.

Riding the wave of emotion

Emotions are valuable things, even the ones that leave you paralysed with fear or so raw and broken you don’t know if you will ever recover. They offer you lots of benefits once you know how to process them properly.

Because your emotions are always telling you something. They are natures way of spurring you

into some form of action.

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand how you feel because you can’t name the emotion. Whilst I don’t think we need to get to caught up in words it’s good to know that sometimes we might use a word to describe how we feel without realising the emotion it relates to.

I believe that knowledge is power. In order to gain a better understanding of our emotions and gain more control of them, stop them becoming overwhelming we need to start with naming them properly. This is also really helpful if you are someone who struggles with talking about how you feel.

For example sometimes we might say we feel annoyed, livid, furious, irritated. All of these words relate to the emotion of Anger.

If we feel agitated, bothered, fretful, jumpy, nervy, panicky, tense, uneasy or worried then the emotion would Anxiety.

How about humiliated, undignified, mortified or discredited? These all relate to the emotion of shame.

But where do emotions come from?

First comes the thought then follows the emotion. Our thoughts determine our feelings. If you think about the feelings associated with excitement; tingly, fluttery tummy, hot flush? The same feelings are associated with anxiety. The only difference is the thought.

If we gain better control over our thoughts it’s the building block to gaining control over our emotions.

Asking yourself these questions

Anxiety – What am I scared of?

Sadness- What have I lost?

Anger- How have my values been attacked?

Happiness – what have I gained?

Guilt – what personal rule have I broken?

Once you know how to label your emotions you can start to practice a technique called riding the wave. Imagine your feelings are a like large waves and rather than trying to push the wave back you embrace it. Let it wash over you. Name it and accept it. Acknowledge that this wave is temporary.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on.

One tiny word with a mighty punch.

The word should is such a small seemingly innocent little word but it packs a lot of punch.  This is the dictionary definition of it: used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.

It brings with it a boat load of guilt and unrealistic expectations. Have a think about the last time you used the word ‘should’ I bet you say it more often that you realise.


When you hear yourself say ‘I should have tried harder to breast feed’ or even ‘I shouldn’t have shouted at my toddler’ how does that make you feel when you say those words? I am going to guess its not a great feeling. As soon as we say I should have, or I should not have it immediately implies we have done something wrong which then leads to a feeling of guilt.


When we use the word Should it has the opposite effect. Imagine saying to yourself ‘I should do the washing’ how does that make you feel? Does it make you feel more like doing it or less like it?

The same goes for the words ‘have to’ they also carry a load of unrealistic expectation.

So, let’s try a little experiment. Let us try changing a few words and see if that changes how we feel.

Let us change should for could.

So ‘I should be making home made food for my children all the time’ becomes ‘I could be making homemade food every day for my children, but I accept that’s not always going to be possible’. Does that feel different?

Or even

I could be making home made food for my children every night, but I am choosing to spend my time doing other things.

This takes back your power. Your choice. It eliminates the feelings of guilt and the weight of expectation.

Think of this scenario. You are feeling resentful because you don’t feel as though your partner is helping you out enough at home or with your children. Have a think of the way the conversation would go if you started with ‘You SHOULD be helping me more’. What do you think their reply will be?

Now imagine saying ‘I would love it if you COULD help me more around the house or with the children’. Do you think that would go any better?

Give it a go and let me know if you see a difference in how you feel but just changing one tiny word.

Becoming a mother and grieving your old life

An analogy I often use with clients who are struggling with motherhood and all the changes it brings is its like the stages of grief. Now I realise that sounds a bit dramatic but bear with me a minute.

The first stage of grief is shock. When we have a baby, we are filled with ideas of how wonderful its going to be. We are going to be the most amazing mum and love every second of it. It’s going to bring you together with your partner because you created this little life. And then the reality hits. You find it really fucking hard. Its relentless and boring. You don’t enjoy it and quite often find yourself questioning why you even had the baby in the first place. You argue more with your partner, you never go out anymore and it feels lonely. Now let’s be clear it doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby (for some women it does feel this way but not all) but it’s really really hard.

And that comes as a shock. Its NOT what we expect. It’s not like what the books said. And we don’t know what went wrong.

The next stage of grief is denial. I know so many women, myself included, who do a GREAT job of masking how they feel. They deny how anxious or how low they feel because admitting it might seem like a failure or they worry that if they admit it someone might take their baby away. They manage to paint on a fake smile and say they are ‘ok’ every time some one shows concern.

Next we move to anger.

Anger finds its outlet in different ways. You might feel growing anger or resentment towards your baby. You hold them responsible for the situation you now find yourself in. Maybe if they were an ‘easier’ baby or slept more you wouldn’t feel this bad. Even though you may know that these thoughts are unrealistic it doesn’t stop them coming. Sometimes we might even feel that the baby doesn’t sleep on purpose to spite us or that they don’t like us.
Anger can also find its way towards our partners. The balance of the relationship has tipped and no longer seems equal. Your partner gets to go out each day and have adult conversation and eat a meal in peace whilst you are stuck at home. Even if this is something which you wanted and was discussed prior to the baby arriving it doesn’t make it easier.

Eventually, sometimes with help, we move towards acceptance. Accepting that life will never be the carefree existence it once was. Accepting that things have changed. But that this change is fluid. Its ever changing. What feels like a struggle today by next week or next month that stage will be over you and you will be onto the next. Eventually they do sleep, and you start to recoup. They begin to more and more independent and you gradually claw back tiny amounts of time. You can go to the toilet whilst they sit and watch a cartoon. They will play independently meaning you can get house jobs done or sit and have a coffee that’s still hot.

You will accept that your body is different. You might not like bits of it, but you can accept it is the way it is because you grew a human. Although I struggle still to accept that I pee if I go on the trampoline.

If you stay stuck in denial or anger its not a great place to be. Its not helpful to you in moving forward. So, if you think you are stuck reach out and talk to someone. Your partner, friend, GP or pop me an e mail and I can sign post you some help.

Inability to breast feed led to my PND

Before I had my baby, I wasn’t sure I wanted to breast feed. I always found the idea a bit ‘icky’. But then she was born, and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to want to feed her immediately from my body because that’s what we are made to do right? I mean we are provided with the equipment. My body had not failed me yet. It had managed to get pregnant despite being old and knackered. Had grown a perfect baby and sustained a 39-hour labour to get her out. So, squeezing out some drops of mother’s finest milk was going to be breeze or, so I thought. But my body had other ideas. Apparently, this is where it drew the line.

My milk never came in. I was man handled by a midwife who caused me more pain in those five minutes of squeezing than my baby did coming out of the birth canal. I cried when she walked away from me. I had been a mother for all of 3 hours and I was already failing at it. I look back now and I see it in a different light. I had been up for HOURS. I had a pushed a HUMAN out of my body. It was 2am but my other half was told he had to leave, and I was left on my own.

The next day I was told I couldn’t leave the hospital because ‘feeding wasn’t established’. She might as well have rubber stamped FAIL on my head in red letters.

What followed was two weeks of me trying to pump whilst we tried to get formula into our baby and she began to lose weight. My healthy 8.3 baby was now dropping on the centiles and I was being threatened with the term ‘failure to thrive’. Eventually another midwife sat in my house on my sofa with her clip board and said ‘You have no choice, give up and give her formula’ so I did. And at this point my PND took hold. I couldn’t get past the feeling that I had failed my baby. Everywhere I went I was surrounded by women whipping their boobs out and breast feeding with abandon. I felt that l each time I had to get a bottle out and make up formula in public I might as well have been giving her crack cocaine the stares I would receive. Of course, they were probably all in my head. But I wasn’t strong enough to say ‘Fuck you I can feed by baby how I want. It’s not my fault that my body wouldn’t play ball’.

A study by the Journal of Maternal and Child Health found that mothers who plan too breast feed but can’t are more likely to suffer from PND. The study of 14,000 women who had planned to breastfeed but couldn’t were 2.5 times more likely to have post-natal depression. The study is not conclusive but demonstrates a strong link.

Whilst no one can’t deny the benefits of breast milk the slogan ‘Breast is Best’ is detrimental to the mental health of all those women who find they just cannot do it.

We need to remove the guilt and shame women feel if they cannot do it. Fed is Best. That’s what I say.