STRONG MAMA - ROCKING IT WITH MICHELLE

 
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Our 'Strong Mama' Rockbox has been curated by Michelle, author of the beautiful ‘Dear Orla’ blog. This Rockbox has been designed to give mums some much needed pampering and to strengthen their mind and soul through relaxation.

Michelle is a mother, wife and psychologist who, through her blog and social media, shares her thoughts on life, pregnancy and parenting after loss to give support to those who may be experiencing something similar. Having also experienced post-natal depression Michelle shares insight into her own personal experiences of this illness to help inform and support others.  

In support of a charity close to Michelles heart £4.50 from every ‘Strong Mama’ Rockbox will be donated to the Pandas Foundation. The Pandas Foundation is a trusted support service for families suffering pre-natal or post-natal illnesses and their objective is to ensure that no individual, family or carer feels as if they are alone.

It has been such a pleasure curating this Rockbox with Michelle and we took some time out - with a cuppa and some Raw Halo chocolate - to chat about the gorgeous Rockbox that she has designed and the reasons behind the charity that she has selected.

You have chosen some gorgeous products for your Rockbox – why did you chose these specific items?

There were so many beautiful things to choose from, that it was a tough choice!  However, I made my choices based on my own experiences of Mother’s Day: I have had two heavily pregnant, one as a bereaved mother and this next one will be my first with a baby in my arms, having survived pregnancy after loss and on my journey of recovery from postnatal depression.  As a result, I really wanted to choose products that were nurturing so that all mum’s, no matter what their experience, would benefit from them.

Rest and relaxation is so important, whether you are parenting a baby in your arms or in your heart, so having some products in the box like the space mask to aid with this was important to me.  Grief and PND left me feeling unworthy of care and nurturance, so I hope these products will help to provide some much needed care to mums out there.  I also personally believe that if you have warm and soft feet, then the world is that bit easier to deal with!

 
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Can you tell us a little bit about your chosen charity and why it is important to you?

I decided to choose PANDAS for both personal and professional reasons.  Having experienced postnatal depression following the birth of my second baby and I know what a lonely, isolating, shameful and scary place that can be.  And as a psychologist, I see first-hand what an integral role charities like this play in supporting the families who are living with the challenges of pre and postnatal illnesses.  Perinatal mental health difficulties can rob you of so much; they can take away your joy, your confidence and sometimes your hope for the future, so I think it is incredibly important to support organisations that can help.

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What is the best present you have ever received?

I love gifts that are unique and have a story behind them, so my favourite present is probably my antique engagement ring.

What would be your ideal treat this Mother’s Day?

I know it sounds a bit cliché, but on the actual day, being able to spend it with my husband and Esme really will be the ultimate treat as I feel like I have waited such a long time for this.  However, having the gift of a day off at a later date to pamper myself would be pretty amazing: maybe a day at a spa where I could nap, read a book and have a facial and really recharge my batteries.

 
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As Mums we all know that down time is rare however when you do get it what do you like to do?

What I really love is to go to a yoga class and just stretch and breathe any stressors or worries out.  However, at the moment that isn’t always possible, so I like to try and catch little snippets of time like sitting down with a hot cup of tea, listening to a podcast, having a bath or watching some reality TV (my ultimate guilty pleasure!).  To be honest though, I find so much joy in pottering around the house; sorting out drawers, tidying up and rearranging things.  My happy place has always been at home.

 If you are talking to a new or expectant mum what would be the one piece of advice that you would give them?

Ask for help.  Or always take it when it is offered.  I think this was the thing that really tipped me over the edge after my second daughter was born.  I struggle with accepting help and find it almost impossible to ask, but my goodness, what a difference it makes.  And that can be help from family and friends or professional help – or both.  When the nurse from the perinatal mental health team came to visit me, she said ‘we are not made to do this alone’ and this has really stuck with me.  

If you could visit anywhere right now where would it be?

Today, I think I would like to be taking a walk along Climping Beach in West Sussex.  It is a place that we like to go to feel close to Orla, and as the season is starting to shift into Spring, I find this time of year particularly difficult because we are in the lead up to her birthday.  However, I always feel a sense of calm being by the sea and she feels that bit closer at a time that we are reminded that she is further away.

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