Editor’s note: This guest post was written by Emma White, known as xxx on Babyhuddle. Emma is a mum to 6 and known to most on the Internet as The Real Supermum. She began her life as Supermum back in 2010 and for 2 years has worked endlessly to provide a safe and confidential support network for hundreds of women. You can visit The Real Supermum Blog & follow Emma on Twitter.
In November 2009 my world came crashing to an end, along with my business, my family, friends and my mind. I was diagnosed with bipolar and as a result of suffering with mental illness for 19 I did not believe I would ever recover. My own husband and children no longer recognised me, I lost friends who feared me and a number of family members turned their back on me, I brought shame on the family. The fear of rejection from that point was set in stone.
I was 4 months pregnant when I was finally diagnosed after years of falling through the mental health service; I also had 5 other young children at home. During that 2 year period I have distant memories, I do not remember when my three youngest took their first steps for instance. I only remember it was the time when I would begin to hear voices, see things and hear things that nobody
else could- psychosis became, and still is, a regular symptom.
I gave birth to my 6th baby when my other children were aged 1,2, 5,6 and 9. I was unable to care for myself, I could not care for my children and my husband became my main carer along with the children’s main parent. I would lock myself away from them, pushing drawer sets and a wardrobe against the door, to lock them away from me, fearing I would hurt them.
The guilt I felt was soul destroying, my children deserved better than me. I would burn myself and starve myself to the brink of exhaustion to punish myself for being such a failure as a mother. I was alone, frightened and rejected. I began treatment that involved weekly talking therapy with the mental health team and medication, slowly improvements were made.
In May 2010 I sat looking for a mums group to join on Facebook, yet the voices reminded me I would never be accepted. “Make your own group, you would be great at it” my husband told me. So I did. The Facebook mums group went from strength to strength and two years later it is a lifeline to thousands of mothers. My days are filled talking and supporting mothers with mental illness, who self-harm, have addictions and have experienced sexual abuse and every other real life issue that mothers face. The one thing we all have in common is we are all fighting to be the best mothers we can be to our children.
I began a blog in March 2011 as an extension from the mums group; many of the mums wanted a place to share their own anonymous experiences in the hope of helping others. The Real Supermum Blog was born and grew as a support network to many others, not just mothers. The blog is visited by an average of 2,500 visitors each day; it really is a real life parenting blog that covers so many topics, including the taboo ones.
I won an award with Mums Club in October 2012- 100 mums in business 2012 awards, I came 1 st place. The stigma attached to someone like me, a mother of 6 who suffers from a mental illness, self-harms and has an eating disorder is not likely, yet I prove that someone like me can achieve, can manage and can lead a successful life.
While I continue to fear rejection and judgement I am breaking down stigma and I fighting to ensure every parent out there is accepted for what and who they are, I am a voice for those too afraid to speak.