Raising awareness of Maternal Mental Health - by Nicola

In June 2018, whilst 17 weeks pregnant, my husband & I experienced the devastating loss of our baby boy, Noah Colm. 

Following this tragic event; with very little time off from my demanding job and having to cope with the chaos of building work going on in our home, I was really struggling to cope with the trauma that my family and I had been through. As a result of all this stress, worry and lack of rest I became very ill with Post-Partum Psychosis (PPS) – a serious medical illness which can affect women after birth-related trauma.

Before this happened I had never suffered with mental ill health so the experience I went through was incredibly scary and upsetting for both my family and I. Luckily with the help and support of my wonderful family and the amazing NHS,  I recovered quickly and was able to return to work within a few months.  It was at this point (whilst always having had an interest in health and wellbeing) I decided I wanted to help increase the understanding, awareness and focus of baby loss and maternal mental health In Noahs Name. This new purpose really helped me recover from my own personal tragedy whilst also creating a tribute to Noah and a nice thing to remember him by. 

Since then my interest in health, exercise and wellbeing has increased, not only helping me personally but also in promoting it to others. I have worked hard to help improve the wellness culture at the company I work for. By helping them to increase the awareness and understanding of employees’ physical and mental health and wellbeing and coming up with initiatives that have helped our employees to stay healthy.

Outside of work I trained to become a Shout Crisis Volunteer (the UK’s first 24/7 crisis text service) and now volunteer for Shout in my free time to help people with their own mental health, a challenging role but something that I find very rewarding.

My husband and I also set ourselves regular fitness challenges to raise money for the brilliant baby loss and mental health charities Tommys  and MindUK. So far we have raised £2000 + by completing a 5K Tough Mudder, climbing the O2 together, completing the Mind UK #RedJanuary and most recently the #TwoPointSixChallenge during lockdown. 

Tommy's O2 Climb December 2018 (in the middle of storm Deirdre!)

Having always had a passion for exercise I knew that it would be an essential part of my life going forward. 

Even during lockdown I make sure I do at least 30 mins of running, cycling or yoga a day (not always easy when work and house work is piling up) but I have experienced the positive effects of this first-hand. Which is why I was very excited to discover the Rainbow Running club (RRC) last year.  Lucy has done an amazing job in creating a lovely group of supportive ladies who have all unfortunately been through some form of baby loss or infertility. 

In the space of a few months She has run several Raimbow Running Clubs across the country. Allowing inspirational ladies to meet up for a run, jog or walk followed by a friendly chat over tea & cake.

I was lucky enough to go along to one of Lucy’s first run meet ups during baby loss awareness week last year and really enjoyed meeting lots of lovely ladies who completely understood what I’d been through. I’m also really pleased to now be part of the RRC team as the contact for the future Richmond Park Rainbow runs and look forward to seeing some of you there in the hopefully not too distant future. 

Earlier this year I was also privileged  to go along to Lucy’s first Rainbow Retreat - a wonderful weekend full of relaxation, running & yoga by the coast, with a lovely group of ladies who I’m now very happy to call friends. Since lockdown has recently put a halt to our Rainbow club meet ups, I have been joining Lucy’s weekly Mid Week Mindfulness sessions via Zoom instead which are currently one of the highlights of my week! 

Without all of these things I know that I wouldn't have recovered as quickly as I did from the last couple of years and I hope that by opening up about my experience it will help others as well as normalise the conversation around a subject that affects many."

To get in touch with Nicola please contact her via instagram @in_noahs_name or you can email Nicola by clicking here.

To find out more details of our Rainbow Running & Yoga Club Events please click here.

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