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Postnatal Anxiety: Breaking Mum & Dad

Postnatal Anxiety: Breaking Mum & Dad

A whopping 1 in 10 new parents experiencing postnatal depression and anxiety. After suffering a traumatic birth, and being diagnosed with postnatal anxiety and birth trauma, Anna Williamson uncovers the real thoughts, feelings and behaviours that many women experience in those first few weeks and months after becoming a parent in her book Breaking Mum and Dad.

Postnatal Anxiety: Breaking Mum & Dad

Whether it’s making new friends, coping with changing relationships, breast and bottle feeding anxiety, going back to work worries, or the whole shift being a new parent poses mentally. Breaking Mum and Dad is a guide of empathy, sympathy and above all, hope.

We caught up with Anna Williamson, author of Breaking Mum & Dad, to find out more.

What inspired you to write the book?

Postnatal Anxiety: Breaking Mum & Dad Having suffered with mental health challenges for over a decade I sadly wasn’t surprised to have a relapse during pregnancy and post birth. I was diagnosed with pre-and post natal anxiety and birth trauma. What shocked me was that so many other people were struggling and yet didn’t feel confident enough to admit it… In a time which should be the happiest in your life, for so many parents that can feel anything but. My own experiences and this cloak of silence and struggling inspired me to write a book to empathise and help other parents. And crucially to help them feel better supported and enjoy parenthood.

Do you feel parenting anxiety is something that needs to be talked about more with parents-to-be and new parents?

I think it’s a tricky question in that nobody ever wants to instil something that wasn’t there before… However pregnancy can be an anxious time for anybody regardless of a formal diagnosis. There is so much change and anticipation to consider. I think that certainly anxiety around parenting needs to be made to feel more normal, when things feel normal they become easier to talk about and therefore it reduces the stigma. I strongly believe that more postnatal care in particular needs to be given to parents mental health and well-being, it is an incredibly overwhelming time, and parents need to be given an opportunity to work through the rollercoaster of emotions without judgement.

Postnatal Anxiety: Breaking Mum & Dad

What was your favourite part of writing the book?

I found the whole writing process really cathartic. I had gone to a birth reflection at my hospital before putting pen to paper, so was mentally in a much better place about my own birth story, however retelling the actual birth for the purpose of the book was naturally a really emotional part for me… I admit I did shed a tear at recalling it. I really enjoyed writing the final chapter, which is full of hope and happiness, being a mum is such a wonderful privilege and navigating all the weird and wonderful feelings really does make it all worthwhile.

How did you fit in writing the book around family life?

Haha I honestly don’t know! Looking back now I can’t believe I wrote a book when my son was five months old! I used to fit in a couple of hours of writing every day around his sleep time. It was important for me to write the book whilst I was just coming out of my postnatal depression so my thoughts and feelings were as real and authentic as possible… As time goes on it can become a little foggy and you forget. I guess it is nature’s way of allowing you think about having another baby! Haha.

What do you hope new parents will take away from your book?

That no matter what you are feeling, you are completely and utterly normal and a terrific parent. Nobody parents in the same way as another, and equally nobody feels the same way as another. If parenthood has hit you with a bit of an unexpected wallop of challenging thoughts and feelings, then this is the book full of empathy and advice for you.

You can purchase Breaking Mum and Dad over on the Bloomsbury website.

Related article: Postnatal Depression


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