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LIFE, MOTHERHOOD

Confession time.

Ever since I have married a black man, my views on race and racism have changed a lot.

All the more, after our beautiful mixed-race twin boys came into this world.

Before that, I had thought I knew what black people go through during their lives. 

I thought some of them had it harder than others, that some were exaggerating the issue, and that some were being unnecessarily paranoid…

Today I know that my opinions were wrong and rather naive. 

How could they not be? 

As a white person, I had never remotely come even close to understand what black people have to go through on a daily basis. I am not saying what the majority of black people go through because – as I also only understand now – ALL black people come across hate and racism at more than one occasion in their lives. Regardless of where they now live or the country of birth. 
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MENTAL WELLBEING

“Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.”Lemony Snicket

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.”
Glenn Close


Why is mental health a taboo subject?

This is a question I ask myself a lot. 
It makes me sad to see how many people still perceive mental illnesses as a weakness or failure.

Of course, we have made huge progress over the years, but it will still take a good few years before we talk about our mental health openly and without reservations. 
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I am excited to announce the launch of my new online course I put together with an NHS midwife Marley Hall to help prevent new or expectant mothers from falling into the trap of postnatal depression during COVID-19 and beyond.

The course is called Get Prepared for Motherhood Like No One Else and it bridges the gap between expectations about motherhood and the reality as well as revealing the untold secrets about motherhood many perinatal classes don’t talk about.

It goes from basic relationship tips to how to prevent PND with an added layer of COVID-19 content and Ivana is donating 10% of profits to the Special Baby Care Unit at Barnet Hospital where she was supported.
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MOTHERHOOD

Having a newborn is hard. 

And it is even harder when you have to go through it in isolation.

No baby groups, no meet-ups, no parents to babysit, no soft plays… 

It is no doubt challenging to maintain your mental health when you have a newborn at times like this. Being isolated is one of the triggers for maternal mental health issues so at times like this it is extremely important that you look after your wellbeing. 

I put together 5 simple but powerful steps that can help you to maintain your wellbeing and keep you strong. 

The more tips you follow, the better you feel, but remember that even sticking with one of these tips will bring fruitful results. 


1. TALK

My number one tip on general mental wellbeing and the best way to feel better instantly is to talk. Choose someone you trust and talk to them about your feelings. Do not ever keep anything inside as it will backfire eventually. The more you talk about your thoughts and feelings, the better.

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MENTAL WELLBEING

“First time in history, we can save the human race by lying in front of the TV. And doing nothing. Let’s not screw this up.”
– Unknown


How are you feeling about the coronavirus?

I’ve been experiencing a variety of feelings…. 

From anxiety, confusion, and stress to faith and hope.

Do you feel similar?


What I fear the most perhaps is that I’ll fall into depression. Again.


I’ve been here almost four years ago when I was stuck with my little boys at home. We lived in an apartment in the house with no lift at the time. The stairs had also a tricky angle which made it difficult to carry the buggy downstairs – both physically and mentally.


So I was kind of trapped which was one of many triggers for postnatal depression

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MOTHERHOOD
“A mother continues to labor long after the baby is born.”
– Lisa Jo Baker

“Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.
– Tina Fey

There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”
– Jill Churchill

Coming across a lot of amusing and shocking comments people say to new mums, I could not resist writing a post about it! 

So, I asked you, new mums: “what are the most ridiculous things people told you?”


I admit, I thought I had heard all of the really “bad” ones before. But while talking to you, I was still taken aback at moments and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. 😭😃


I am sure this list does not cover all of the ridiculous things a new mother ever came across, but let’s take a look at the most “popular” ones.

“You are so tiny, you don’t look pregnant at all.”

“You had a c-section? Oh, I’m sorry.”

To a crying baby: “She’s not happy, is she?”

“You should try to enjoy the birth as it goes so quickly.”

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“Keep calm, I have twins” – became my motto over the years. They say twins mean double the trouble, but every mum of twins knows that it is more complicated than that… That having twins is challenging on a completely different, unmeasurable level. 

If I was to mention all the things no one told me about having twins, I would probably never stop writing…

But let’s talk about the most surprising ones. Or perhaps – the most important ones.

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POSTNATAL DEPRESSION

I feel incredibly lucky and grateful for my amazing family… For my wonderful husband and our gorgeous twin boys Mason and Henry who give me mountains of joy and love every single day.

However, the beginning of my motherhood journey was rather horrific…

I suffered major postnatal depression, which was, frankly, the worst experience of my life and something I don’t wish anyone to ever have to go through. It was the worst nightmare I could not wake up from… It was something that completely took over my mind and I suddenly had no longer power over my thoughts (or even deeds)….


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POSTNATAL DEPRESSION

Guest post 

Here I welcome Rachel Hunter N.N.E.B, Private Nanny, Nursery Owner, Child Minder, TA, STA, and MUM. Rachel is a Holistic Therapist & work with Women and children at R&R Therapy, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7LX.

Rachel is a postnatal depression survivor and a mum to two adult children. In the below post, she shares her experience with postnatal depression and talks openly about the trials and tribulations of becoming a mother and what she would have done differently if she had a chance. 

Over to Rachel…

I was so excited when I found I was pregnant, my husband and I had only been married 6 weeks and never imagined it would happen so fast, my pregnancy went well and when baby arrived, I was so, so happy. I had a son, I had my baby!

Over time, things started to change, my happiness dipped, although I loved my new addition to our little family with all my heart (and for that I was relieved, as I know some new Mothers struggle), life became very hard, it felt as though joy had left my world forever! I didn’t feel good enough in all walks of life, I felt I was failing as a wife & mother, in fact, in all aspects of my life! I had to detach myself from anything and everything that was negative, I couldn’t cope.

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MOTHERHOOD

“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in the jars and open a jar of it every month.”
Harlan Miller. 

“Christmas is not an external event at all, but a piece of one’s home that one carries in one’s heart.”
Freya Stark.


Ok, so this is the first Christmas with our boys that we seem to will have actually enjoyed!


But let’s start at the beginning…


My name is Ivana (or less formally, Ivanka) and I am a mum to two gorgeous twin boys Mason and Henry. I love them so much it hurts but girl, they can drive me mad sometimes!


But that’s motherhood, isn’t it? Some days you burst with love and happiness, other days you burst with anger or stress… However, what I love about it is that love always wins. Regardless of how long or intense the battle is, love always comes out of it as an invincible winner.


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Do you like Pinterest, guys?

I absolutely love it!

Scrolling through it now, I came across a few pictures that made me feel happy and relaxed… Wonderful feeling.

You know this type of pictures, music, smells, views, experiences, people, words… that make you feel good just by being? Exactly this type!  How little is enough (sometimes) to feel good, isn’t it?

As a huge fan of positive energy or even more precisely – of spreading positive energy, I decided to share some of them with you! Hope they will make you feel as good as they made me. keep reading

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POSTNATAL DEPRESSION, Postnatal depression 1

Here I welcome Alexandra Kremer, www.alexandrakremer.co.uk, to share her powerful story and valuable information about birth trauma. 

Alexandra is a fertility, birth and parenting specialist, antenatal & postnatal educator and practitioner.

She is trained in delivering the Freedom Fertility Formula, The Calm Birth Method, The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme, BabyCalm and ToddlerCalm and is also a Certified Birth Trauma Resolution Practitioner which is where a huge part of her passion lies.

She has a keen interest in yoga as well as women’s and children’s rights during birth and beyond.

Originally from London, Alex now lives in Hertfordshire with her two young children. Alex sees clients in person and remotely from all over the world. More information can be found on her website.

Over to Alexandra. 

Birth trauma is sadly all too often a common occurrence, perhaps you had an unexpected medicalised birth, an emergency or a problem with yourself or your baby before, during or after the birth. A common misconception though is that to experience trauma it had to have been really horrific labour. This is not true. keep reading

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LIFE

“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.” Eskimo Proverb

“Babies lost in the womb were never touched by fear. They were never cold, never hungry, never alone, and importantly always knew love.” Zoe Clark-Coates

It’s baby loss awareness week…

Another tough subject to talk about, but since it is something I have personal experience with, I feel it is finally time for me to write about it. And to support those who have been through it too.

This second pregnancy was not planned, but after the initial shock, I started to be excited and look forward to it.

But not for long. Before I knew it, the baby was gone.

I kept asking why it happened, but this is something you can never be 100% sure with. We were put through a lot of stress at the time as our Henry had to undergo surgery, so I believe this did not add up to the relaxed state of mind a pregnant woman is supposed to be in.

Anyway, one day I started to bleed so we went straight to the urgent care. They said it didn’t necessarily have to mean anything bad, but suggested for me to rest and relax. Like you could relax in a situation like that, right?

However, I did my best, but the bleeding would not stop. On the third day,  I started to feel sharp cramps in my belly. I knew very well what it meant, but was still was hoping till the last moment. keep reading

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The day started like any other until I opened my inbox and found an email saying that I am a finalist for Best Business Women Awards 2019 for Best Blogger !!

Honestly, I had to pinch myself a few times at that moment before I realised it really was true!
I cannot even start to describe what a huge honour this is for me.

I started blogging about 3 years ago after I had overcome postnatal depression, with the one and only goal to help and support mums to never have to feel the way I did.

I absolutely love to see how this blog progresses. At first, I was writing only about my own experiences, but after a while I started to go deeper and reveal all the unspoken truths about motherhood which, I believe, could help – even save – many new mothers out there.

I started to share tips and advice on how to overcome common parenting problems, and struggles and do my best to show mothers that whatever they are going through, they are not alone.
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As a new mum, you are overwhelmed by the amount and variety of emotions.

But also by the amount and variety of advice that flows to you from every direction, aren’t you?

I lost count of the amount of advice I was given when I felt down… But I will never forget one in particular that made a huge difference in the way I felt and perhaps even saved me.

The boys were a few months old and I was having a depressive episode (of course, I didn’t know what it was at the time). I remember that daunting feeling of despair and the neverending tears that I could not stop from falling.

I felt trapped in my own life and didn’t see any point in anything.

Yaw took me and the boys out for a walk and I was describing to him how I felt. I cried and cried… and then cried again over the fact that I was crying and feeling down instead of enjoying being a mum. keep reading

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Blog, MOTHERHOOD

Labour is what most mums-to-be think and worry about the most.

They spend a lot of time researching all the possible (and impossible) information on this subject and trying to see if there is a way to ease the pain that comes with labour.

I was the same, of course. But here is what I want to tell you now, after 3 and something years of being a mum. Labour is – in most cases – the easy part! keep reading

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MOTHERHOOD

Another Father’s day is here and for us, it’s the third one as a family. (wow, has it really been this long??)

This occasion (as well as many others) made me think about dads’ roles in the world of parenting.

Can’t help thinking as though dad’s role as such was often somewhat forgotten about… And what is even worse – as though it was normal this way!

As if it was a mother alone who deserves all the credit. Now, don’t get me wrong,  I am not taking anything away from strong mothers who also work or mothers who have an extremely difficult job of parenting roles (Absolutely amazing by the way! Never forget that). keep reading

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POSTNATAL DEPRESSION

With Father’s day coming up, I want to point out to the subject of fathers and postnatal depression as I feel it is despite its significance often overlooked or even ignored.

Postpartum depression has typically been perceived as a problem limited to women with newborn babies and has not included men.

However, we cannot forget that fathers also experience significant changes with the arrival of their child. Fathers also have to adjust to an array of new and demanding roles and tasks during the early stages of parenthood. keep reading

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POSTNATAL DEPRESSION, Postnatal depression 1

I talk about postnatal depression so often but have never written about what postnatal depression actually is…

Personally, I am familiar with everything that relates to postnatal depression, but I am aware that this is not the case for everyone. There are plenty of people who still have no clue what it actually is, or even perceive it as some kind of a whim on the part of the sufferer.

So let me do something about it… What is Postnatal Depression (PND)?

I believe there are two different ways of defining PND, a professional and a personal definition.

According to NHS, “postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby. It’s a common problem that affects more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth.” (please note that this goes for the cases that have been reported but there still are many of them who weren’t). PND can also affect fathers and partners.


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In connection with Mental Health Awareness week, I decided to some research and see how well mothers suffering from Postnatal Depression (PND) knew about it before they became parents.

Personally, I knew it existed, but that was pretty much it. I never ever thought it could happen to me… 

Not because I thought I was so special. Simply I thought it’s PND which is for very special and rare occasions. 

I remember our first meeting with a midwife. It’s true she did mention PND, although she gave the impression it was just one of those irrelevant things on the list she had to tick off…

She then handed us a few leaflets with contact numbers we were supposed to reach out to should we have experience signs of depression. That was all the education on PND we got.

That was all the information we were given about one of the most common mental illnesses and the reason a lot of mothers took their lives…

Quite sad, isn’t it?

That being so, I asked other PND survivors about their experiences and how well they were informed on this illness before it hit them.

Let’s see what they said!

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POSTNATAL DEPRESSION, Postnatal depression 1

I had an entry into the 2006 London marathon but unfortunately suffered an injury so had to defer. I then realised that if I moved quickly there was a chance I could become pregnant with my second child and still be able to run in the 2007 marathon and not lose my deferred place.

I was incredibly fortunate that with both pregnancies I didn’t suffer with morning sickness or any pains. I managed to keep running through both pregnancies. With the second one, I managed a gentle 5 mile run in some light snow in the morning and then went into labour that evening.

Unfortunately, my daughter (like my son) has to be extracted immediately due to the monitors showing they were in distress so I had to have emergency sections for both.

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POSTNATAL DEPRESSION, Postnatal depression 1

Do you feel overwhelmed by your thoughts and/or feelings?

I believe it won’t be anything new for you when I advise you to talk about it. Especially when these thoughts/feelings can significantly impact your mental health. Especially when you are a new mum dealing with feelings of sadness, failure, overwhelm, loneliness, isolation… Talking is undoubtedly the best thing you can do.

The reason is simple. Talking can literally save you.

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MOTHERHOOD

With Mother’s day approaching, I cannot help thinking back to my first Mother’s day as a mum.

Our boys were about 11 months and I had just started to get back on track after a devastating experience of postnatal depression.

I remember being really excited about having to experience my first Mother’s day as a mum, however, the real experience wasn’t (as a lot of my other first experiences with motherhood) as special as I imagined it to be.

If you read my story, you know it took me a few months to develop a real bond with my children. My first year as a mother was the hardest year of my life and I cannot even start to explain how it feels when you are expected to be happy when all you want is to cry and turn back time.

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LIFE

I’ve been through a lot during my life. My childhood was tough, my parents got divorced when I was only five, I went through some bad relationships and through a divorce. I suffered major depression and anxiety (which still lasts), I lost a baby…

And yet, when I talk to other people and listen to their stories, it feels like mine is not very unique.

Do you know what I mean?

Every person on this planet has their story. And no one has a purely easy life.

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If you are an expecting first-time mum, the contents of this post will probably take you by surprise (perhaps even shock you), but please bear in mind that the last thing I want to do is to freak you out. All I want is to get you more prepared for what is to come.

Why would I want that?

Tell the truth, if you are more prepared, the less shocked you are when the time comes. And the less shocked you are, the better chance you have to avoid postnatal mental issues and other problems many first-time mums experience.

For, believe me, in most cases the reason for new mums suffering from postnatal mental problems is unrealistic expectations of motherhood and a shock that comes with the arrival of a baby.
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It is 12 pm and I have just got back from a toddler playgroup. Shattered and in pain. (Both physical and mental, although I am not sure which one is worse).

Peculiarly, this state has given me a fresh inspiration for a new post and share with you at least a vague idea of what a twin mum usually has to go through every single day.

Understandably, I cannot include every single thing every twin mum has to face each day, because this post would be neverending plus every mum’s routine and days differ by all means.

But what I can describe is how it looks in our case. keep reading

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MENTAL WELLBEING

I sit on my seat by the window in a packed train fighting the wave of anxiety that is tirelessly trying to get to me.

In case you didn’t know this about me – I suffer from an anxiety disorder. Oh, and also claustrophobia. (But not to worry, I also have a great sense of humour, so it balances it out.)

And when I say I sit by the window,… Well, the window actually takes up only about 40 % of the space next to me.

The rest of my view is just something big, plastic and totally useless. I look at the guy next to me who made it clear just a minute ago that he would not swap a seat.

Perhaps that is why I don’t really feel like confessing I suffer mental issues, so I let him enjoy his blind victory and close my eyes in a hope that the tension in my heart will pass. keep reading

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Articles

I came across her one evening after having a very bad day with the boys while engaged in with a FB group.

The moment I read her story, my eyes filled with tears. It was not only the story itself that caught my attention.

It was also the strength and bravery I felt from her words. Instantly I forgot about everything that had bothered me before and sensed an indescribable rush of gratitude.

I knew I would need to speak to this lady and share her powerful story with you.
Daniela is a mother of three children.

Her oldest, seven-year-old son has cerebral palsy and cannot entirely control the left side of his body. Her daughter is nine and has selective mutism.

When her brother was in the intensive care unit, she was only two and did not understand what was going on and stopped talking. She started to worry she would get ill, that someone would hurt her, and that she would end up in the hospital on the tubes like her brother.

The youngest son is two and a half years old. From all the siblings he was blessed with good health. 

When Daniela fell pregnant with her fourth child, she was very happy and looked forward to meeting her baby. However, life is not always fair. Daniela’s baby was born dead.

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MOTHERHOOD

Have you realised lately that you have not been talking to your partner about anything but the daily life? Did you use to have lots of fun together and now you cannot remember last time you had a laugh?

Have you found yourself stuck in a place you promised yourself you would never be?
Trust me, it is not just you.

Many couples slide into a certain monotony after they become parents. And then it is only up them whether they allow this monotony to challenge their relationship or to slowly kill it. 
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