I'm delighted to be sharing with you Zelma's story of how The Postnatal Project came to be. It's amazing how even from the otherside of the world, the narratives around birth and parenting are the same. If you're not already following her on social media, you should be!
What is The Postnatal Project?
The Postnatal Project is a blog which was founded in 2016 by me, Zelma, and has gone on to become an award-winning online movement and support service for parents. Exposing stigma and offering peer support has always been a goal of mine. I have a special
interest in and passion for birth, birth trauma, gentle parenting, breastfeeding and mindfulness.
I live in South Australia and have two children, Cadence aged 3 and Asher aged 6 months.
I had my first daughter in June of 2015 and struggled immensely. I didn’t know it at the time - but I had experienced a traumatic birth which set of a chain of events hormonally and emotionally. I went to the hospital after the birth to get support with breastfeeding and the only room available was the one I laboured it. I walked in and the room just started spinning. It felt like the ceiling was crushing me. I had never experienced anything like it. I have since become extremely interested in the impacts of birth trauma and have healed. I went on to have a VBAC with my second daughter in February 2018.
I’ve also breastfed my two daughters through intense difficulty. I struggled to receive adequate support during this time. You name it - I’ve done it. Formula top ups, pumping, treatment for mastitis and vasospasm, tongue tie revision, lactation consultants, medication for low supply, lots of tears - from both myself and my daughter. It wasn’t until my first daughter was 2 years old that I finally found a doctor who was willing to investigate. I found the root cause of the pain - a cluster of rare tumours (thankfully, benign). But, the surgery rendered my left breast unable to be used due to extreme pain and blocked milk ducts - a new problem. I currently tandem feed my 3 year old (sometimes) and my 6 month old with the one breast and thankfully, it’s been a breeze this time around - all things considered.
Sleep deprivation was also a trying time for me. I finally found peace with this when I practiced kindness and compassion inwards and learnt more about biologically normal infant sleep. Instead of trying to change my child, I started embracing the time and found so much joy in the middle of the night antics. This shift also came at a time where I realised after struggling so deeply with postnatal depression and wanting to end my life, that life was too short. I needed to be here. I wanted to be here. It was an amazing transformation. It was messier than that - but equally as beautiful.
I still run the blog. But since healing from postnatal depression using my inner strength (strength we all have), I have created a support system available to those in a similar position. And those who don’t experience postnatal depression but need some extra ideas to get them through a tricky time or a time of personal growth as a parent. I found my passion through experiencing so much pain and for that I am so grateful. The universe always provides.
How can The Postnatal Project help me?
I offer a Postnatal Wellness - Email Consult which can support and encourage with sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, the fourth trimester, parenting, recovering from birth. I can also offer emotional support in the shift to becoming a parent and practical solutions for postnatal depression and anxiety.
Alternatively, I run a monthly segment on my blog where I answer two parenting or emotional wellbeing related questions. This is to give people an idea of what I can offer if you were to book an email consult but also shows others that the question you have may indeed be shared by another. If you’ve thought it, you can bet another parent has too. Solidarity is such a comfort when parenting can be somewhat isolating at times. Just email me if you’d like to find out more about this or ask a question.
I have also written an eBook called Mama, Let’s Be Honest which discusses some of the things I have already spoken about. But it’s basically a guide to parenting with your emotional wellbeing in mind. I explore things like anger, guilt, worthiness, trusting your intuition and making time for self care.
As always, my Instagram page is always home to wisdom, support, inspiration and discounts on some of the above services (seriously, I probably spend too much time on there!)
Where can we find out more?
Use the code POSITIVELYBIRTHING for 10% of Mama, Let’s Be Honest
Don't forget, this week has seen the launch of our Mindful Breastfeeding and Postnatal Preparation Course so if you are local to Surrey or SW London, check it out!