Author: Janine Smith

A year of depression

I am writing and sharing this to support anyone who experiences depression – so you know you are not alone and so you may be able to feel less afraid of it. As 2018 comes to a close I want to share that this has been one of my most difficult years in terms of depression. It has been a low-lying, miserable depression which prevents me from believing in myself, which just sucks the life out of life. Now here’s the thing about depression, I am not unhappy – I have a lovely little life with my family and I have the best little business – I laugh, I love, I smile, I plan, I do, I hope and I cope – but this year I have also struggled, I am struggling, to stay positive, to accept me, to feel good enough. My default – like so many other people – is worthlessness and feeling useless: it can be all consuming and crippling but I am lucky, I have robust coping strategies, brilliant support and there …

An observation on tiredness, juggling & being happy

God, I’m tired – this is nothing spectacular or special, most of us are tired and I’m sure we are all tired of being tired. This is not a whinge, just an observation on being busy. I just don’t have the time and the energy to do everything I want to do. On the whole I am incredibly happy – I do what I love, I live with people I love, I spend time with people I love and I am grateful for all of this and for health, for laughter and for my ability to enjoy cheap wine. But the tiredness and the endless juggling is real. Some days I feel like I am doing it all brilliantly, I am on top of the load and on other days – like today – I feel like I am falling short. I want to achieve more at work, to develop my little business but I have washing to do & floors to clean, kids to enjoy before they grow up and bugger off, a husband …

Demonising co-sleeping

Occasionally, there are articles in the press reporting the tragic death of a baby in bed or on a sofa. These are rarely reported well and can result in demonising parents for co-sleeping and providing an extra level of worry for new parents. I have been a parent since 2001 and I have worked with expectant and new parents since 2002 – co-sleeping is still a taboo subject, something to be hidden, to feel guilt and shame about. There is more good information and evidence about co-sleeping, largely thanks to the Baby Sleep Info Source (BASIS) but the fears and the secrecy are still there. I passionately believe that we need to be having more honest conversations about co-sleeping, to normalise it, to make it a safe option and to consider it a safe option, which shouldn’t be as feared as it is. The consistent message for new parents is that babies should only ever be in a cot for sleep but this is not realistic or practical for many babies. This can lead to …

The Truth About The Menopause

Tonight’s BBC documentary The Truth About The Menopause worked with different groups of perimenopausal women to find ways of managing the symptoms, especially hot flushes. I was part of the CBT group and we completed a project over the summer in addition to the filmed session and two phone sessions with Dr Mel Smith who was running our sessions. The effects of focusing on my hot flushes, night sweats and sleep, as well as using my breathing throughout the day have made a life-changing difference to my peri-menopause symptoms. Attempting to take some control in this way, also means I have focused on more walking and exercise, as well as a healthier diet, which has also had an affect. I barely have night sweats anymore and only one or two hot flushes most days. As part of this project I also discovered that some women experience shivers as well as/instead of hot flushes and this is all about the body’s inability to regulate temperature as our hormones levels shift. Just having this knowledge has made …

Babyloss & grief – you don’t always have to keep it together…

I feel like an old hand at babyloss grief now – 11 and a half years in and I know how to function well with my grief, I know how it can surprise me when I least expect it,  I know that I will miss my boy for the rest of my life, I know I am grateful for being on the other side of the intensity of grief and I know how to look after myself. It has taken a long time to reach this point. We all do grief differently and there is now more conversation about baby-loss on social media, which is a good thing – anything that attempts to ease the isolation of baby-loss, to create more awareness, support and conversation for grieving families has to be a good thing. However, a few life-after-baby-loss posts this year have made me think because everything on social media can be subjective and interpreted differently. These are well-intentioned, honest, supportive posts but they are a snap-shot and they often don’t convey the emotion, the …