7th May 2021
In support of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (3-9 May 2021 – #MMHWeek2021) and today’s theme of ‘Your Journeys to Recovery’, a Voices Blog by Jane Fisher, a Mother with lived experience and a maternal and family mental health advocate and speaker on her journey to recovery.
In 2015 my youngest daughter was born and my world fell apart. I experienced perinatal mental health problems. I was a mental health nurse on maternity leave and became a mental health patient virtually overnight. This began my own personal struggle with mental illness, a journey I am still on to this day. One of the challenges was finding the words to explain to my oldest daughter what was wrong with mummy. We began to talk at home about poorly minds and what could be done to help them. My daughter was still very young and there were not many resources available to such young children.
Through the Institute of Health Visiting, I met another mum, Amy Dignam. She too had mental health challenges after her third child. We are both creative and expressive, and use this to empower ourselves and others. I had begin to write a story for my daughter to try and put into words how sometimes minds can get poorly like bodies. Amy was the perfect partner for my little project and she agreed to work on some illustrations.
We both found the process cathartic. It was helpful for us to put into words and images the challenge of being a mother with a mental illness. ‘Mum guilt’ is a real thing! And with mental health challenges comes a new level of worry for your children’s wellbeing. And so THE SUN WILL SHINE AGAIN was created to help explain to children why ‘My mummy has a poorly mind’.
THE SUN WILL SHINE AGAIN was initially for us. I read it regularly with my 3 children. I want them to grow up into accepting and empathic young people, who understand the importance of looking after our minds.
Now we can give this opportunity to other families. Myself and Amy both went through an incredibly difficult time, but THE SUN WILL SHINE AGAIN is something good that has come from our struggles.
It’s a big part of our journey to recovery and we hope it becomes apart of another mum’s journey to recovery.
The illustrated children’s book is available via www.thesunwillshineagain.co.uk
You can get in touch with Jane or Amy at [email protected]