Skip to main content

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week - Zainab’s story

As part of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to share one mother’s experiences.

Zainab (name changed to protect anonymity) moved to Peterborough from London and shortly after had her first daughter (during the pandemic). A second daughter followed soon after. Feeling isolated, she noticed her mental health going downhill.

Zainab had seen posters about a ‘Connecting Muslim Mums’ group run by Mind, but was too anxious to get the details.

" "

"I wondered what sort of mum it made me look like if I asked for help. Then my health visitor also told me about it. They gave me the information and I sent in the referral form.

I received a phone call after sending the referral and then a Zoom meeting was arranged talk about my situation and find out more about the course. It was all easy, and those I spoke to made me feel at ease straight away. It made me feel that asking for help was OK, which helped with some of my anxieties.

When I joined this course my girls were nearly 2 years old and 6 months.

I had not really left the house since having my first daughter.

My OCD was bad, I was anxious about getting out of the house with my girls so I just didn’t go out. I had lost myself and my confidence. I was exhausted from talking on the phone to different people about how I felt – I thought this was my last resort.

The course appealed to me as it was local to where I lived – I feel if it was any further, I wouldn’t have made it. There was parking and it was a private car park. I just focused on getting to the car park. If I made it that far, I knew I would be able to do it.

From the moment we first arrived, it was welcoming for both me and my baby, There were mats on the floor, toys for the baby to play with and other adults for me to talk to. It was nice to have that time for me, to be able to talk and be comfortable to go to the toilet and know someone was there to watch my baby.

I had lots of broken areas of my life and the group allowed me space to talk these through. It was nice that it was a small group as it made it feel safe. There were times we went off topic and that was OK – the facilitators didn’t make it feel like that was wrong, but they would bring it back to topic when appropriate to make sure we covered everything. Having a structure was good as I didn’t know what I needed, but the areas we discussed helped me to understand myself as a mum and helped me to build my confidence back up. In turn this helped me deal with my OCD and other issues I had going on.

It spurred me on and made me feel good that each week I would leave feeling positive and want to go away and do something for myself. The group encouraged me to get out of the house and I started setting myself little goals to go out in the car or get a coffee with my baby in town. It made me feel really positive when I achieved these things.

When I finished the course, I felt empowered to get out of the house. For the first time in nearly two years, I was able to get myself and my girls ready, get us in the car and go out. I felt I had the adrenaline in me that had started my recovery and could help me to continue it. My life had changed and I wanted to get out there and live again. I was a more bubbly person than I was before. I am free and happier because of attending the course and reaching out for help.

My husband was really supportive throughout my journey – this definitely helped also. He has commented to me how he has his wife back now. We go out as a family and do fun things with our girls. This makes me happy.

I am always talking about the service and how positive it is. Now I have a new focus in life and want to give back and help others who are struggling. I have applied to be an NCT volunteer and I would like to volunteer with CPSL Mind and support more mums going through a tough time and show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel."