Counselling gave busy mum-of-four Liz a time and a place where her feelings were the most important ones in the room.
She was able to say how she felt out loud – with someone listening to her every word.
She wasn’t judged. She was understood.
And that made a difference to the 36-year-old mum, who was used to putting everyone else in her family’s needs first and who had gone through postnatal depression after the birth of her third child.
“When you have children, it changes every part of your life. It’s amazing – but it’s a big shift,” she said.
“As a mum it helps to talk to somebody who’s not judging you. It gives you that time when you are the most important person. That’s something you really need.
“It helped me think that I’m worth having time for myself, to talk about my feelings, for my own self-care.
This was something for me
“This was something for me. I’ve always done everything else for my baby, my children, my family.”
After her youngest daughter was born Liz began to feel low and recognise some familiar signs.
“With my third child, I’d suffered with post-natal depression. I wanted to stop myself ending up down that road again,” she said.
“I’m very good at putting on a brave face, however I’m feeling internally. But I knew I was feeling low.
“I’d stopped enjoying walking the dogs. I was feeling quite resentful. I was quite snappy with my husband. I was feeling quite cross with everybody. I knew I felt different in myself. I wanted to sort it out.
“I’d also had a long-term friendship that had broken down and I wanted help to try to process that.”
Liz noticed an advert in her local library for free counselling sessions for mums.
The sessions were being run by BACP member Natasha Page, who runs This is Me Counselling in Nottingham.
Natasha had secured funding from the National Lottery Community Fund so she could offer six free counselling sessions to mums with children aged under two.
Liz added: “I couldn’t have afforded to go counselling otherwise, so I got in touch with her.
“I thought that I’d say things out loud to her and it would be really horrendous, and she would say ‘oh my God.’
“But of course, it wasn’t like that. She was non-judgmental. She understood.
“There’s a real difference between someone just nodding and smiling and someone empathising and understanding.
“She was very warm, but also there were boundaries. I appreciated that.
“Time went really quickly. It didn’t take long for me to feel comfortable in the sessions.”
One of the reasons Liz had gone to counselling, was because she’d been increasingly feeling that she must be in the wrong about things.
Through the counselling sessions, she learnt how to be more compassionate to herself.
“I wanted to say what I was feeling out loud. I wanted to put that distance between what I said and what I felt,” she added.
Talking about things helped
“Being able to talk to somebody who wasn’t family, who had that alternative perspective, was very important to me.
“Talking about things helped. It wasn’t instant, but I’ve noticed it. I haven’t snapped since,” she said.
“The counselling helped me say goodbye to the friendship that had broken down after 30 years. It helped me put it behind me. It helped give me some closure.”
She’d encourage people, especially new mums, who are able to access counselling to “go for it.”
Liz added: “Counselling has helped me feel that I’m not right on the edge any more. It’s helped lift a weight from my shoulders.”
If you'd like to talk to a counsellor about any of the issues in this article, see How to find a therapist.
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