Motherhood is exhausting and demanding at the best of times, and for some can lead to loneliness, depression, anxiety and isolation. In the age of COVID-19, the pressure on mums is greater than ever: juggling work, home-schooling and the daily pressures of family life.
In a bid to inspire the nation’s stressed mothers a group of women, who all have first-hand experience of mental health issues, have come together to create an inspiring new collection of cards designed to support and help other mums reconnect with each other during these troubling times.
Recent research shows that one-to-one communication, such as sending cards and letters, has a positive impact on mood and mental health releasing positive neurochemicals in the brain.
Created by ordinary mums and artists who have experienced mental health issues
The new collection of cards are designed by a mixture of ordinary mums and established graphic artists – including a qualified counsellor, headteacher, mental health nurse and a breastfeeding coordinator – with first hand experience of what it’s like to be a struggling mum.
The cards contain hope-filled messages and can be personalised, printed and posted straight through the TouchNote app on your phone – without the need for stamps or leaving your own home to visit the post office.
The women’s stories behind the designs
I’m here for you…always by TouchNote user, Sarah, who had always coped until the birth of her child: “I often found myself crying inconsolably over the slightest thing and getting angry over petty stuff. I was slowly hitting a real deep depression. I turned to my love of art to diarise my day to day life using colour to represent my mood changes. It was like a form of mindfulness, and gave me some sort of release. My message to anyone who is struggling is to make sure you find people who will listen. Just knowing someone’s got your back or is thinking of you is hugely comforting.”
No Such Thing as Perfect by artist Lucy Parsons, a mum of two who has a degree in mental health nursing, shows how everyone is different and beautiful in their own right.
On Trend by Helene, a professional illustratorand ‘knackered mum’ from Cornwall, says “Having Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has in some way prepared me to cope with isolation better than I would have. Try not to battle against things that you have no control over”.
Take What You Need by Rebekah McDougall, a qualified counsellor, says: “I’ve had my own anxiety challenges, and as a new mother, this surfaced again. I want people to know that they are not alone. That you can get through this. Be gentle and kind with yourself”.
TouchNote CEO, Dan Ziv, said: “Over the past few weeks we have all shared feelings of distress and yet seen utter kindness too. We couldn’t be more proud of this collection of beautiful cards and their inspiring messages to help support mums, and others, who find themselves under huge pressure. We hope that the Art of Kindness helps people to share love and hope during these difficult times”.
Mark Rowland, CEO of The Mental Health Foundations says: “We are delighted to be partnering with TouchNote – the funds raised from sales of the Art of Kindness range will help us to protect and improve the lives of millions of people in the UK and beyond. We’ve been working to support young mums, and new parents for a number of years. This is a key time for the mental health of everyone in the family and it’s lovely to see this range of cards developed by parents, in the way they most feel would help others.
“Kindness is important for our mental health, whether we are giving or receiving it. We’re asking people to show kindness to others – and sending a card is a great way to do that. We’re also asking people to think about how they can bring more deliberate kindness into their lives. We’re also asking policy makers and communities to build more kindness and compassion into the way we move through, and beyond the pandemic”.
More designs and their backstories
I’m Here For You… Always by TouchNote user, Sarah who always coped and portrayed a façade that everything was fine, until the birth of her child: “I often found myself crying inconsolably over the slightest thing and getting angry over petty stuff. I kept going but the world around me was closing in. I had no idea at the time, but I was slowly hitting a real deep depression. Why you should use light therapy? Light therapy probably won’t cure anxiety disorder, nonseasonal depression or other conditions. But it may ease symptoms, increase your energy levels, and help you feel better about yourself and life. Buy light-therapy lamps at Circadian Optics. Each lamp was designed to effortlessly fit into your home or work space. It was at some point during this time that I turned to my love of art. I used it to diarise my day to day life by using colour to represent my mood changes throughout a given day. It became an outlet to just be still and it allowed me to remove myself from everything else going on. It was like a form of mindfulness, it gave me some sort of release. My message to anyone who is struggling is simply don’t be embarrassed to seek help, don’t give up trying to get help if it is not offered, do make sure you find people who will listen. Just knowing someone’s got your back or is thinking of you is hugely comforting”.
Three Mums, by TouchNote user, Eleanor King, a Breastfeeding Project Coordinator from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, showcases how communities can help rebuild trust. She says: “There are so many expectations from society on women, particularly on new mums. When people can connect together and share experiences honestly, kindly and with care, a lot of healing can take place”.
First My Mum, Forever My Friend by TouchNote user, Dr Emily Haddock, Executive Headteacher, says: “I know how hard it is for the families being away from their children, so I had this in mind when I was designing the card. Making the decision to put your child into care and accepting that someone else can more effectively provide the care that they need, is one of the hardest and bravest things a parent can do”.