Like so many other women, I felt a mixture of excitement, fear and anxiety when I fell pregnant for the first time. After I gave birth to my son, Isaac, that fear and anxiety didn’t magically go away. Even though I’d been a midwife for five years, I struggled as a new mum. It was this experience that made me want to help women during their transition into motherhood.
Currently, the journey for women after they give birth is fragmented. There’s so much focus on the pregnancy that, after giving birth, women are often cast out into the wilderness to figure things out for themselves. During their fourth trimester, women can feel isolated, unsupported, and disappointed with the advice they receive.
I experienced all those feelings and more on my journey from pregnancy to motherhood. I was often faced with the fear and pressure of not being able to fail because I was a midwife - that I ‘should know what I was doing’. I drowned in the overwhelming emotions I felt as a first-time mum. I suffered and often felt resentment towards Isaac, blaming his behaviour for my feelings.
As a society, we tend to normalise and downplay women’s feelings and struggles. Pictures of perfect families on Instagram and Facebook can create a perception that is often far from reality. There’s a culture of ‘just get on with it’ and ‘just Google it’, and it’s hard to get a call back from helplines.
In fact, as a midwife, I received endless calls from women struggling with everything from breastfeeding to postnatal depression. They often called out of desperation, but I had nowhere to send them and I was frustrated that I couldn’t help them.
When the opportunity presented itself, I was ecstatic to be able to co-found One for Women with long time colleague and friend Stuart Prosser. One for Women was built on a need in the market for change. I had often expressed my frustrations to Stuart about the lack of support which many women face in the postnatal period. As a GP, he shared the same frustrations and together our ideas and discussions lead to establishing the One for Women concept.
I now have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of new mothers. I do not want other women to go through what I went through. I want to help them not just get through their fourth trimester – I want to make their experience a wonderful one.