Case studies

MumsAid supports hundreds of mums and their families with maternal mental health. Here are a few of their stories.

Joanna’s story

“After the birth of my third baby, I found myself in completely unknown territory. In addition to welcoming our new daughter, we moved house to a new area of London and I was made redundant from my job. I struggled with crippling feelings of anxiety and loneliness. I placed immense pressure on myself to ‘do well’ as a mum to my three young children, and I felt like I was failing at every turn.”

“I was completely overwhelmed, but I couldn’t admit this to anyone but my husband. I was appalled at even the suggestion that I could be suffering from PND and I felt a huge burden of shame. It wasn’t until my baby’s first birthday that I contacted MumsAid out of desperation. Even with the best will in the world, I was struggling to cope. I finally reached out because I became scared about how my emotions were impacting my older children. I worried that things would truly never change, and that my sadness and erratic behaviour had become the new normal in our home.”

“I am so grateful for MumsAid. I was sceptical that talking would actually make any difference, but from the first meeting with my therapist I felt a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. The space and the freedom to candidly and honestly share what I was going through was so significant. My therapist was a careful and sensitive listener. She asked questions that helped me to unpack and work through what I had bottled up during a very difficult year for our family. The sessions helped me to feel like I was putting myself back together. I was able to admit in a safe environment how isolated and vulnerable I felt as a mum, and I came to understand that I was holding myself to an impossible standard.”

“I found the MumsAid service very easy to access and thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of mums. It is wonderful that MumsAid works with children’s centres to ensure that childcare is provided, because I found the idea of arranging childcare completely overwhelming. I felt an extra measure of confidence in my therapist as I knew she understood the different ways that depression can affect mums and children. MumsAid is truly a unique and valuable service. I will never forget that MumsAid was there for me when I was at my most vulnerable.”


Emma’s story

“I experienced a very traumatic birth and at my six-week check my Edinburgh questionnaire indicated I was struggling. Eventually, as my community midwife had recommended, I got to speak to the supervisor of midwives about my hospital notes at the end of July, which was useful but actually made matters worse: it brought everything back again.”

“At the start of August I was feeling desperate and spoke to my GP who suggested a local NHS counselling service, which I referred myself to immediately and shortly after had a telephone assessment. This assessment suggested that I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the traumatic birth and recommended cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). However, I was not a high priority as I wasn’t in danger of harming myself or my baby. As I waited for an appointment, I continued to suffer from panic attacks and sleep problems as I was unable to relax and put aside what had happened to me, especially at night and worried that it was affecting my ability to look after my baby as well as I wanted to. I spoke to my GP again and tried taking anti-depressants but found the side effects too difficult to live with whilst trying to look after my baby.”

“After a 2 month wait I started cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). At the very first session I was immediately encouraged to tell the full story of what had happened to me at the birth, which I found extremely difficult and upsetting. Following this the counsellors confirmed that I had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), explained what it was and offered minimal advice on relaxation techniques. Re-telling my birth story re-traumatised me.”

“After three CBT sessions, I went in desperation to the health visitor. My baby was now six months old and I had hoped to start to feel better from the counselling, but I couldn’t have felt much worse. She talked to me about Mums Aid and offered to refer me to them. Within 10 days of speaking to the health visitor I had my first appointment with them. It’s hard to convey the enormous relief I felt to find a counsellor who would take the time to get to know me, make me feel able to talk freely, tailor her approach to my needs and take things at a pace I could cope with. At last I felt someone understood my situation, clearly had the experience and sensitivity to help mums in difficulty and I relaxed and was able to believe that I would finally get better.”

“I’ve now had four MumsAid sessions and although it’s not an easy process, it’s made very much easier knowing I’m in good hands and the free crèche means I don’t have to worry about childcare. Most importantly, I know I’m making progress in the right direction, without re-traumatising myself, which leaves me better able to live my life and feel up to looking after my baby well.”


Alison’s story

“Having lost my mother in terrible circumstances three years ago, becoming a mother myself was always going to be a difficult journey. After a birth that didn’t go to plan, a tongue-tied baby who had trouble breastfeeding and having no family support, it wasn’t long before I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility and exhaustion of caring for a newborn and the dramatic life change. As someone who had always been driven, positive, ‘in control’ and motivated, the feelings that I experienced in early motherhood were entirely foreign and unbearable.”

“I was aware that I needed help but was left hanging in the system. Fortunately, I found MumsAid in a last-ditch Google search and they made asking for help easy when I really needed easy. There were no hoops to jump through, long waiting lists or judgment. They gave me the help that I needed when I needed it. Working with a wonderful therapist on a weekly basis, I was able to process and start to manage my feelings.”

“I now absolutely love being a mother and have a wonderful bond with my son. I strongly believe that the opportunity that I had with MumsAid made all the difference in getting to where I am now; a happy, outgoing, thriving Mum. I owe such a huge debt of  gratitude to my therapist and the MumsAid team. They are truly special people providing a hugely valuable service to the community.”