My Business Saved Me from Postnatal Depression
I was diagnosed with severe mastitis that led to a two day stay in hospital.
Two weeks after having my second child, I was diagnosed with severe mastitis that led to a two day stay in hospital. I was in a room on my own with my new baby whilst trying to navigate painful breastfeeding attached to a drip. My husband was at home with our 3 year old son and it wasn’t fair for them both to be in the hospital with us all day (even though this was pre covid) so it was just me and my new baby daughter in an isolation room.
I remember trying to change her nappy and just burst into tears that wouldn’t stop. That feeling of utter helplessness was alien to me. And as much as I loved my beautiful new baby girl, I didn’t feel like me. I knew I had to focus my mind elsewhere to stop it spiralling.
I’m a digital marketing consultant and had launched my business just before I found out I was pregnant. As a second time mum, I knew I would need some time off after my daughter was born so had made necessary arrangements with my clients to allow myself a short maternity leave break. But, the plan was not supposed to be spending it in a hospital bed.
According to Gov.uk, as many as 8 in 10 new mothers will experience ‘baby blues’ a few days after giving birth and 1 in 10 new mums will experience postnatal depression (PND) at any point during the first year after giving birth. Some symptoms of PND include:
- Uncontrollable crying
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Inability to concentrate
- Loss of appetite
- Low energy
- General low mood
Being so mindful of this, I was determined not to let this materialise.
I reached for my phone and messaged one of my clients who I had the best relationship with. I remember I texted her something like, ‘can you give me something to do? I don’t mind what it is.’
This client could have said ‘no’ and her initial response was ‘no, you’ve just had a baby!’ But when I explained the situation, she asked me to write a blog for her website SEO. Ironically the blog was about maternal mental health. It allowed me to keep my focus knowing that my work would be helping others as I sat in that hospital bed cuddling my baby.
I’ll be forever grateful to her because doing that one piece of work allowed the time in hospital to pass quickly and looking back now, I know that it saved me from something else happening in my mind. Who knew that ‘work’ could have such a profound effect on my mental health?
It was as if I had reached out for help but in a different kind of way. I soon realised that this work wasn’t just ‘work’ it was giving me purpose – a purpose to help others. The blog I was writing was going to be uploaded onto her website for others in a similar position to me to read, learn from and hopefully get help if they needed it.
So, once I got home, I had this new found strength that I could continue juggling both work and family time as long as I was gentle on myself. Fuelled by my own experience, the clients I work with support the health and wellness of parents and children. They are mental health counsellors, paediatricians, midwives, a baby loss charity and more. Having the recent experience of parenting young children especially through lockdowns and the Covid pandemic, has given me clear insight into who my clients need to be marketing their services to.
“I managed to continue breastfeeding for another 14 months.”
I don’t think I would have been able to do it without working on my business at the same time. Creating websites, social media content and getting my clients’ services to the top of organic Google searches all contribute to the important presence these businesses need online. I also help my clients understand our new digital world so they can make better marketing decisions for their business.
Together we have given parents access to free information that has led to them getting vital help for either themselves or their child. Some of my clients who have their own private clinics have even given free sessions to those who can’t afford them.
The fantastic relationships I have with my clients keep me going because I know that together we are making a difference to the health and wellbeing of parents and children across the country.
I’ve since been recognised for my work.
As one of the most inspiring businesses in the UK by Small Business Britain as part of the #SmallBiz100 and one of the UK’s most inspiring women in business by the F.Entrepreneur #ialso100.
And with my baby girl now almost 4 years old, I’m so grateful for her, my experience and everything that has come my way as a result. The client I texted from the hospital that day is still my client today.
So don’t be scared to reach out for help when it comes to your mental health. It doesn’t matter in what capacity you ask for it. Just being mindful of the symptoms and doing something about it is crucial to protect your health and wellbeing.
If you’re a health professional supporting the health and wellbeing of parents and children and need help marketing your service online, visit www.charlottepink.co.uk for more information.
About The Author
Charlotte Pink/ Digital Marketing Consultant
Charlotte Wise is the founder of Charlotte Pink, a digital marketing consultancy from Kent helping to market health professionals online who support the health and wellbeing of parents and children. Through website design, SEO and social media you can work with her to help others and make a difference.