For my Husband on Father’s Day

When my husband and I got married, we chose this poem (by Hovis Presley) to be read during the ceremony. And my goodness, I don't think either of us quite realised quite how important the content of that poem would be during the coming years, as we became parents.

Without my husband by my side during our first three years of parenthood, I have no idea where I'd be. With Father's Day around the corner, it's time I said thank you. Thank you for so many things.

  • For understanding my body was going a little crazy in pregnancy. For always being on hand to nip out for Gaviscon. For not minding being asked to pop out of the office to buy constipation remedies. For sleeping in the spare room or on the sofa during the last few days/weeks because I couldn't get comfortable. For comforting me when I cried about silly things because my hormones were going mad. For asking the questions I hadn't thought of during appointments with the midwife. For listening to accounts of my crazy pregnancy dreams & not laughing (much). For understanding my immediate need for a Slush puppy.
  • You were a brilliant birthing partner. You always understood my fear of labour, and you did everything you could to alleviate that. You had just the right level of humour and care to get me through childbirth. Thank you for not fainting at the sight of blood (even when it splattered across the midwife's face). You were always as involved as you could be from the off. You whipped off your top and had skin to skin with our babies both times as quick as I did. You listened as intently as me when the lovely midwives explained how to change a nappy. You helped and adjusted the baby on my breast as we tried to get the right latch. You stayed in the hospital with me as long as you possibly could, till the midwifes eventually kicked you out. And when you left I cried and you cried.
  • Breastfeeding didn't work out for me. You knew how this broke my heart. You did everything you could to make it better. You researched. You did everything possible to try and make it better. But ultimately, you made me realise I could still be a brilliant mum and it was ok. You recognised my guilt and pain and you made me realise that in the grand scheme of things it wasn't important. I could see how cross you were that I'd gone through this and no one had prepared us for the possibility.
  • When we discovered we were going to have another baby when our first was just 3 months old you were as scared as me, but your first words were “it's going to be OK Sal, it will be fine”. I knew I had your 100% support and it made everything ok. We would cope and we would love those babies. And that's exactly what we've done.
  • Possibly the one thing I can't thank you for enough, dear husband, is your night time brilliance with those babies. You have jiggled, paced, cuddled, swung, held and comforted those babies at every hour of the night. For hours and hours and hours. Just imagine how many hours we've clocked up pacing the floor with babies, dear husband?! Oh my goodness. And yes, we complained. My god we complained to each other. But you NEVER suggested I should do more because I wasn't technically “working” or because I'm their mum. Not once. You are the most patient man alive. When I felt I was going INSANE pacing the carpet with those babies you were gentle and calm. I still have no idea how you did it. Our girls still call for us both in the night. For a long time you were the only one that could comfort our darling Ruby. That's because you were always there for her. Your ability to cope under severe sleep deprivation still astounds me. I will never be able to thank you enough! It always makes me think of this little poem that I saw in the paper

  • My husband the feminist. You make me believe I can be whatever I want to be, and you have exactly the same attitude with our girls. You are the one that pushed me when I said I wanted to start my own business. You are the one that encourages me to go for it. And do you know what? Our girls see that. They already see that. And they know you feel the same about them. You encourage them to do everything they show an interest in. You will happily get your nails painted by them, and buy them toy trucks and lorries too. You are determined that their gender will not define them. I am so proud of your attitude and I am so happy that they have such a beautiful and kind, but quietly fierce and ambitious soul as their role model.
  • My rock during PND. You knew I was falling apart at the seams even when I couldn't see if myself. You knew that, and had to cope with that, whilst having to deal with work and 2 non sleeping babies as well. You remained calm. You comforted me. When you saw me going to dangerous places, doing crazy things like screaming into pillows, you never once made me feel like I was mad. You gently persuaded me that we needed to seek help. Always “we”, never “you”. You comforted me and reassured me. You made me realise I was still a good mum. It scares me to think of what would have happened without you. I was close to becoming really poorly, and without you, I would have been. You helped cure me.
  • For loving the kids completely and entirely, and for loving me too. You have loved me through everything. Through spinal blocks and the first poo after labour, and the breast pumps and the crying, the sitting on doughnut cushions, the ringing of 111 at 4am, the breaking down at the doctors, the tears and stress of blood tests and the “I'm a crap mum, I cannot do this”. The hysterical laughter at 2am when they're both up AGAIN. The desperation of “let's drive her in the car and see if that makes her sleep”. The boiling hot summers of jiggling babies to sleep. The books on “how to get a baby to sleep”. The hand, foot and mouth. The slapped cheek. The chicken pox in pregnancy. The going to work on the train after literally 40 minutes sleep. The punching of the walls and the near loss of your wife's sanity. Through all of that (and so much more) you have loved me. And I'm so very very grateful. I didn't think it was possible to love you more than I did when I married you. I was wrong. Happy Father's Day Paul Edward Bunkham.

This blog was written by Sally Bunkham, founder of Mum's Back – new mum hamper gifts focussing on the yummy stuff denied in pregnancy. £1 from every hamper goes to PANDAS Foundation.

Dads are parents too…so why aren’t they treated that way?

In this run up to Fathers’ Day Mum's Back are focussing on Dads instead of Mums for a change. In this guest blog, Miranda Gregory explains her opinions around Dads in the workplace…and how far she thinks we still have to go…..

Thirty seven years ago (eek!) when I was born, my Dad had a rather…..hands off role…shall I say. Yes he loved me (obviously!) and played with me, held me even. But to be honest, that was about the extent of it. I don’t think he ever fed me, definitely didn’t change any nappies and wouldn’t have even dreamt of getting up in the middle of the night to try and give my poor Mum a break and try to settle me! Nor did he help with the housework and I’m sure he only actually started cooking after he retired. He worked full time (my Mum didn't), and was away a lot. I’m not sure there were even any arguments where my Mum got to the end of her tether and handed me to Dad saying “You deal with her” (and if I was a betting person, I’d put money on the fact that there wasn’t!) This was just the way life was in the eighties and for countless years prior.

My husband, Simon, and I have 2 young children and I’m lucky that he’s such a hands-on Dad and has done everything above that my Dad didn’t. One day my Mum and I were sat in a well-known coffee shop. Upon seeing a Father take his young baby into the changing room “I can’t get over how things have changed” she said. And it’s true, they absolutely have. And yet, at the same time, they absolutely haven’t!

There still seems to be a certain stigma that fathers face – that society views them as the ‘lower’ parent in the relationship. Why is that? We are supposed to have equal rights across the board and yet, heaven forbid a father actually wants to leave slightly early on a Wednesday to pick up his children from school.

Here are just a few examples of what I mean….


As a society, I think we’re incredibly lucky that such a thing even exists, and yet take-up of it last year was thought to be just 2%. For some women, the thought of being at home with a baby for any huge period of time fills them with dread. Unlike mothers, men so often don’t get a chance to spend a great deal of time with their child. So in such a case, SPL is perfect. Each parent takes a certain period of time off whilst the other is working. So why is it that so few couples take it up? Research shows one reason is that Dads fear that it will adversely affect their career….whether it be via ‘boys banter’ and not wanting to have the piss taken out of them by their colleagues. Or, at the other end of the scale, that they will not be selected for promotion. They worry they won’t seem committed to their career or their employer….even though it’s perfectly legal for them to take SPL and perfectly illegal for an employer to discriminate against them for taking it.


Mine and my husband’s pet hate. A father decides to take his children to the park – only to be met with the comment that they’re babysitting! “Errr no! I’m not being paid to do this….believe it or not I’m doing this to spend time with my children as a PARENT! So I’m parenting today, as I do every other day, thank you very much!!” Has any woman ever been asked whether they’re babysitting their children when they’re solely looking after them – I highly doubt it.


The law states that anyone, regardless of gender, may apply to their employer for flexible working, you don’t even have to be a parent for crying out loud! And yet, research shows that men, on the whole, just aren’t applying for it. Whilst I believe we’ve come leaps and bounds in terms of flexible working (there is still a HUGE way to go, don’t get me wrong) and yet it’s still seen, just like periods and the menopause, as a ‘woman’ thing. It’s like we still have the view society had in the 80’s: mother = caregiver, father = breadwinner.

One issue is that for some families they just can’t afford for the father to work anything less than full time. Yet, the thing that concerns me are the other reasons why Dads aren’t putting in a flexible working request. Society has moved on so much but attitudes haven’t. Dads fear that they are going to be looked down upon and have their career suffer if they ask to work flexibly.

A recent study even showed that Dads are even LYING to their employers when they request time off. They’ll say they have a doctor’s appointment rather than saying “Do you know what, I really want to see my child play Wise Man 1 in the school nativity because you only live once, don’t you!”

It’s pretty much universally acknowledged that the only way flexible working will truly be taken seriously is if men do it. And the only way the gender pay gap is going to be reduced is if, as a society, we are serious about and encourage men to take up more of the childcare mantle.

A bit about Miranda

Together with her husband Simon, Miranda runs GPS Return – helping people return to work. When she tried to return to work after having her 2 children, she was shocked at the lack of support and options available to parents in her position. Miranda now works as a Career Mentor to help people get their confidence back, work out their job search strategy and find a job that works for them & their family. If you are looking for support and guidance about returning to work, you can join her facebook group

Thanks so much to Miranda for this thought provoking article.

This blog was hosted by Mum's Back, home of hamper ideas for new mums .

£1 from every package sold goes to perinatal mental health charity PANDAS Foundation.

“Timing” – A Poem by Becky Kilsby About Her Father

In this run up to Father's Day, Mum's Back are taking the focus off mums and motherhood for a short while, and instead concentrating on Dads. In this post I'm honoured to feature a gorgeous poem by Becky Kilsby. She explains the reasons for writing it below, along with some really poignant advice….

“I wrote ‘Timing’ several years after my dear old Dad had died. I had an overwhelming urge to say out loud what I hadn’t directly said to him while he was alive. I know he was very proud of my achievements and had inspired many of them through his twinkling love for words. I wish that I had let him know more directly how much I valued everything he did for me and I wish more than anything that we could have time again to know each other as adults. This poem shines the spotlight on an individual – and if you still have a parent in your life, don’t waste time. Get to know them and let them know you. May your timing be spot on!”


I’m ready to know you

all set to hear
those Catalina Tales
Grantchester refrains
reverberating Tubular Bells

I’d give fair welcome now
to your exhortations
to crackle the pork
and to not (please)
slam the door

eyes often blinking
for that (frankly ridiculous)
pork-pie hat
worn blithe brio
in your Fenland garden shed

my fingers are greening,
poised to learn your
potting lexicon:
lobelia or nasturtium
nudging pendulous

Face turning late towards the sun,

I’m ready

Becky Kilsby

A bit about Becky

Becky is a Career Change Coach and Founder at Freestyle Careers

“I help career changers imagine and create a truly fulfilling career. Through my Quickstep Career Change Programme and Values Discovery packages, purpose-seeking professionals can create a working life that inspires them and aligns who they are with what they do.”

Huge thanks to Becky for allowing me to share her beautiful and moving poem. It certainly got me thinking about my own Dad.

This guest blog was hosted by Mum's Back, new mum gift sets focussing on the yummy stuff denied in pregnancy. £1 from every hamper sold goes to perinatal mental health charity PANDAS Foundation.


Five Life Lessons From My Dad

Mum's Back are primarily all about mums, pregnancy, motherhood, new mum hampers, those early years with a new baby and beyond. However, in this year's run up to Fathers’ Day, I am delighted to feature some blogs on the site completely dedicated to dads. After all, they're a pretty important component to parenting, don't you agree?!

Up first we have a gorgeous blog by Sally Thomas, all about her dad, Dave. It's the kind of blog that reminds you how great the world, and the people in it can be.

Dad and me

My dad Dave was always there when I was growing up, and that’s not something I take for granted. I have friends whose dads are no longer around, left their families for new ones, or are just not part of their life. It’s impossible to imagine my childhood without my dad there alongside my mum Chris and my sister Jo, and we are still incredibly close as a family, even though there are now many miles between us all.

When your family all love Jon Snow! Mum, dad, me and Jo.

On first glance, Dave my dad treads the line of Father’s Day card imagery – pottering in a shed, drinking a beer, watching the football (his beloved Aston Villa), providing taxi services and loaning his offspring money. Those that know him see him as incredibly confident, able to strike up a conversation with absolutely anyone, and the life and soul of the party. But he also has a serious and sensitive side, and if worrying was a competitive sport, he’d be the undefeated champion.

He is one of the best people I know for listening and giving advice. I’ve learned so many things from him and I thought I’d share a few with you.

Work to live, not live to work

Dad spent about 25 years working for Suttons Bakeries, delivering bread to various stores. The teasmade would wake him at 3am with a freshly brewed cuppa and he’d set off to Coventry to load up his lorry. He loved the job, as most of the time he was driving, with the occasional stop and a quick chat with the store staff. He would either listen to the radio, or play a tape of his lines from whatever play or pantomime he was in at the time.

Dad was always there, not rushing off to meetings or locked away in an office working late into the night. He always earned enough to get by and avoided jobs with any stress or pressure.

My parents showed me how to get the balance right, to be careful with money but spend it when you need to. Sometimes we’d go on holiday abroad, sometimes we’d spend three rainy (but fun) weeks cycling around Cornwall. We’d have days out but we’d always take our own food. I vividly remember pulling up on the hard shoulder and the four of us eating our cereal by the side of the motorway!

I’ve had careers in advertising, sales and marketing and in each of those sectors I took a role that completely burnt me out. When my hair started falling out, I was being contacted at ridiculous hours and couldn’t sleep anymore, dad would tell me it was time to take a pay cut and look after myself, and I would pass on this advice to anyone in a similar situation. Life is too short and money isn’t everything.

Get on the stage and out of your shell

From an early age, my dad was in the spotlight playing the leading roles in school productions. He taught himself the guitar as a teenager, and played in several cover bands in Birmingham.

Dave second from left in the Reunion Showband

After they started a family, he decided to get back into performing, and the whole family joined the amateur dramatics group at the local methodist church we attended. His first role as pantomime dame led to many years of typecasting because he was so good at it. As a 7 year old, I thought nothing of my dad being in full drag, and was surprised at school to find out that not everyone’s dad spent their spare time as a female impersonator!

Dad as Widow Twankey in Aladdin. My sister Jo (left) and I (right) were in the junior chorus. I loved this twirly skirt!

He still acts and sings today, and his rendition of ‘My Grandfather’s Ferret’ is not to be rivalled. He’s played so many roles and I’ve seen him have audiences in tears of both laughter and sadness.

I was an incredibly shy child, and drama was a way I could have confidence by being someone else. Even now I’m more comfortable on a stage than in day-to-day situations. My dad inspired me to unleash my inner diva and bring joy to others by entertaining them, and that if you love music, make music.

Dave in his element during a stay at Rockfield Studios for his 70th birthday

 Sing loudly at funerals

It’s so strange the words of wisdom that stay with you in life, but “Sing loudly at funerals” from Dad is a keeper. He told me this at a family funeral when I was fairly young, explaining that people can be too sad to sing in times of grief so if you can, sing for them to help make a sad occasion a celebration of life.

As the years have gone by, unfortunately we’ve had many opportunities to put this into practice. Sometimes it’s been achieved, but others…. we’ve been the ones too sad to sing.

Dad and I are very similar when dealing with grief. We put on a brave face in public and cry in private. For us, grief in its full flow is never immediate, but sneaks up much later when we’re not expecting it. But before then, we deal with the administration and comfort others while we’re in that lull.

Spend time by yourself

I think time by yourself is one of the essential things in life. My dad taught me that it’s ok to have quiet moments, go for a walk, or curl up with a book. In a house full of women, I can imagine he needed the peace every now and then!

The hours he spent driving for a living wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but my dad loved the solitude and time for reflection it gave him. He also went to Russia on his own as he’d always wanted to go.

A further lesson I’ve learned is to explain that you need time by yourself to close friends and family. Then they’ll understand that you need space and stop trying to follow you around!

 Help other people

I’m struggling to remember a time when my dad hasn’t been a volunteer in some capacity. At weekends, he can be found showing visitors around the grounds of Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens occasionally making up the name of plants when memory fails him.

He has spent many years gardening for the elderly people in the village, being paid mainly in biscuits. He has also helped to run Luncheon Club at the local church, and a regular Whist Drive (although sadly there were many cheaters at the table). My sister and I would often go along and help until eventually we’d get bored and start playing hide and seek.

I’ve never heard him grumble about volunteering, even when an elderly lady kept phoning him to come round and help her change the channels on the TV. He always said she was probably a dab hand at a remote but just wanted the company.

Helping other people has never been something he’s done for recognition. It’s just something he has always found worthwhile, had the time to do, and inspired others to do the same.

These are just five fatherly pearls of wisdom from Dave, and they’ve all helped me at some point in my life. I think the greatest life lesson I’ve learned from him is to be happy, and for that I’d say to him “Thank you, I definitely am”.

Originally from Birmingham but now living in Swansea, Sally Thomas is a freelance copywriter and marketer who crafts captivating, compelling and creative campaigns. She is also addicted to alliteration. Her website is on its 127th rewrite in six months as she's never happy with it.

Visit Daphne & Margot to see her sister Jo's beautiful handmade children's clothes.

You can listen to Dave’s cover of My Grandfather’s Ferret on Soundcloud.

Huge thanks to Sally for writing this……and big up Dave!!

Hospital Bag Essentials That Aren’t Mentioned Enough

If you are pregnant right now there’s a good chance you will have already done the “what to pack in my hospital bag” google search to find out what you need. As an imminent new mum I did this a lot. You can get some amazing and very comprehensive lists online. But there were a few items my friends tipped me off about, and I’m SO glad they did because they weren't on those lists.

I wanted to share them with you now, so that you can be in the know and also pass on to any of your pregnant friends who may also be thinking about what to pack in preparation for the big day.

  1. Maternity pads. Yes sure…..the lists usually include these. But I was not prepared for the amount I’d need. I ended up staying in hospital for a few days because my daughter was premature and had jaundice. So I was woefully underprepared on the maternity pad front. Don’t do what I did and use sanitary towels instead. They are perfumed and can irritate you down there,…and let’s face it, that part of you will have been through enough! I’d suggest getting the biggest ones you can and buying 3 packs at least.
  2. I found out about this too late. That first poo can be pretty traumatic. Lactulose eases this. Take a couple of spoonfuls straight away after labour and daily after that. When the time comes you’ll be so pleased you did.
  3. A jug. This sounds weird, but bear with me. At some point after child birth you’ll be wanting a wash. If you’re lucky you might get a bath, but in many hospitals you’ll have shower only. Often, the shower head is fixed to the wall. This makes washing your nether region a little tricky and that’s the part you’ll REALLY want to get to wash. A jug helps you get some water to that area. I was so pleased I had mine with me.
  4. An extra-long phone charger cable. You’ll be spending a lot of time lying in bed. You’ll be wanting your phone a lot and you’ll be grateful for easy access to it. Anything that can minimise you getting up and down a lot is a bonus. A long charger cable to ensure you can reach it is a great idea. 
  5. Ear plugs and headphones. Hospitals can be noisy places what with crying babies and women going into labour. You’ll be grateful to be able to block some of it out at times. 
  6. Thin pyjamas and a dressing gown, plus lots of loose, comfy clothes with easy access to boobs are essential! Hospitals can be hot….really hot. Especially if you’re due in the summer time. So make sure you have comfy layers that are thin and pack for a few days. You never know how long you’ll be in so be prepared. 
  7. This isn’t so much an item….more of a strategy. I had a separate bag for my stuff and another for baby’s things. This makes it so much easier to find items when you’re tired and in that new mum fog (which you will be)
  8. Comfy socks! Yes, maternity wards are hot but for some reason, after labour, your feet can feel cold. So a nice cosy and loose pair of socks are just the ticket. Flip flops are also a great idea for ease of taking on and off.
  9. Bendy straws! And a big sports bottle. You will be thirsty and potentially in lots of different positions you won’t easily be able to drink from (like on all 4s!). A bendy straw will help you drink and not have to move too much.
  10. If you aren’t keen on a Bountry rep (they come and ask if you want pics of your new baby and also get your details so they can send you offers) visiting you in hospital immediately after giving birth (which I wasn’t), you can print out this handy PDF that blogger, Alison Perry created. Pop it near your hospital bed so you can avoid having to deal with them at all.

I hope that was useful! If you are expecting a baby soon, then I hope it goes really smoothly for you. It really is a magical and crazy time and I know you'll breeze it.

This blog was written by Sally Bunkham, founder of Mum's Back, who sell luxury new mum hampers, focussing on the yummy stuff denied in pregnancy. £1 from every hamper sold goes to perinatal mental health charity PANDAS Foundation



The Road To Recovery

I've written a lot about perinatal mental health in the past. For Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week (which is this week) I wanted to write something really positive. I truly do feel totally better following that bleak period of my life with 2 under 2 and a bad bout of late onset PND. I might even consider myself a good mum now, which is an utter revelation! Because of this I wanted to reflect on what being “better” really means.

During those bad times with PND I was angry, sleep deprived, frustrated, not understood, was self-harming and felt like a failure. It was horrible. But following my diagnosis, I began to slowly get better. This was for a mixture of reasons. Firstly, I finally began to understand myself. I realised I was poorly (not just an awful person as I believed for ages) and could therefore get better.

The diagnosis freed me to be able to talk about my feelings without a fear of judgement or blame (because now I could blame it on the illness, not myself). My husband allowed me to sleep while he sorted the kids out at night time for about 2 months (absolute hero, I will never ever be able to thank him enough for this). I had a prescription for some medication. I had no qualms about taking the medication but for me, knowing it was there was enough to help. Lastly, my youngest baby began to get better (she’d been poorly with a condition that made her cry and be restless so much of the time) and therefore she slept more. As she slept more and became more comfortable, so did I.

The change to “better” happened slowly and gradually. I didn’t wake up one morning and think “Yes! I’m better!”. It happened much more slowly than that. But there were small, positive indicators I noticed over time that hinted at the fact I was getting there.

I wanted to share some of mine and others’ “indicators” of recovery, so that we can reflect on what “better”, “getting better” and the “road to recovery” may look like.

  • “I started to realise I had begun to wear mascara again. I hadn’t done this for months. This small act meant I was beginning to look after myself again. I cared about myself again. It felt good” – Sally Bunkham
  • “For me it was laughing and not feeling guilty. To genuinely feel joy again!” – Clara Wilcox
  • “It was being able to keep my anxiety and worry at a minimum. I was regularly working out and got dressed 80% of the time. I felt my confidence slowly rising as I was remembering how to look after me once more and I was happier in my body and mind” – Loulou Storey
  • “I moved house and realised I'd packed my anti-depressants in a box and hadn't seen (or taken them) for a week! I think the new start and the excitement of that gave me a positive feeling about the future – something I hadn't had 12 months before so I knew I was okay again” – Amy Downes
  • “For me it was appreciating the beauty of a blue sky in January. It (literally) felt like the clouds had finally parted after two years of deep depression following my divorce. I got a tattoo to remind myself that I never wanted to feel that way again” – Hannah Martin
  • “The point where I knew I was starting to feel more like myself was when I went for my first run in over a year. I used to love running but as I sank further into myself I completely stopped. Getting out in the fresh air and doing something that I used to love made me realise I was starting to feel better” – Anon
  • “I was encouraged by a health visitor to keep a simple diary with smiley or sad faces, depending on how the day had gone. For many months I felt a nothingness….neither happy or sad…just nothing. But I carried on keeping the diary and a few happy faces started appearing each week (instead of the ‘nothing’ faces). I knew I had started to heal. 7 years later and I am still healing. The goal isn't “happy every day” it's “FEEL IT ALL” – Mary Meadows
  • “For me it was when I found myself singing whilst hanging out the washing!” Leanne Howlett
  • “I started noticing the colours of trees and flowers. I also remember seeing the longest day (21st June) as a great day as it's summer and not that ‘the days just get shorter from now'” – Emily Tredget
  • “I still have ups and downs, but I always know I'm in an “up” when I sing stupid “doop-boop-a-doop” nonsense songs when doing really mundane things like going upstairs or emptying the kitchen bin” – Anon
  • “For me it was when I reached out and started to get help. Being assigned a mental health midwife went a long way to my recovery. That and I no longer wanted to hurt myself” – Emma
  • “I remember after only a few days on Sertraline, after 3.5 years of PND, my son got chicken pox. I actually felt like a good mum for the first time ever, and that day I knew I could fight this darkness. Still makes me cry to think of over a year later” – Hannah Clarke
  • “My ‘Birth Matters’ appointment was instrumental in my recovery – I was listened to, sympathised with, and most importantly offered full support and a plan for if I wanted more children following my third-degree tear and traumatic fast labour. I left feeling like a weight had been lifted” – Lucy Flower
  • “2.5 yrs later I had a second child & realised how different the experience was” – Anon

Thank you so much to all the ladies who shared these beautiful moments and experiences with me. If anyone reading this is struggling I really hope it helps to see that others who have been where you are now have got better, and you can too.

I’ve written this blog in honour of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. For more information about it, and to access support, please click here.

This blog was written by Sally Bunkham, founder of, who provide luxury hamper gifts for mums focussed on the yummy stuff denied in pregnancy. £1 from every hamper sold goes to PANDAS Foundation

York Baby Expo – Public Speaking & Breaking The Taboo

This time last week I was in York at the Bump and Baby Expo. I was honoured to be asked do a talk to the guests there about my journey as a mum and in setting up my business, Mum’s Back.

Not only that, but I also had the honour of interviewing my friend and inspiration, Vicki Psarias aka Honest Mum; blogger, vlogger, film maker and now best-selling author! (do check out her book, Mumboss)

I haven’t done any talks since last year and I’d forgotten how much I love doing them. I am always nervous when talking about my journey of motherhood, mainly because it involves the still very much taboo subject of PND, anger and self-harm. The latter is always a particularly hard one to talk about. Not because I am ashamed, but because I am never sure what reaction I am going to get. I sometimes also feel weird talking about it because, like PND, I am never sure if I experienced the “legitimate” version of the illness, so in a way I feel a bit of a fraud. I know this is ridiculous, but it’s still there.

Thankfully for me, the self-harm element of my illness did not go very far. Actually, it was the thing that made me realise something was wrong. My PND manifested in anger, frustration, and a need to release all of that. It was a coping mechanism that became unhealthy. The sheer exhaustion of dealing with 2 kids under 2, one of which who had a medical condition that meant sleep was scarce (that’s an understatement) exacerbated it all.

Initially the screaming into pillows in the middle of the night felt ridiculous, but in a small way it helped. Punching walls felt the same, though I felt so ashamed afterwards. Who the hell was I turning into? Part of me was laughing at myself. “What the hell are you doing? You have really lost it now! You are acting like Phil Mitchell!”…oh the chats I’d have with myself. The shame I felt was actually part of the reason I started to hurt myself. It all got lumped in with feelings of complete inadequacy, failure, anger and exhaustion. I would drag my nails down my arms in frustration till they’d bleed. It was part self-punishment, part release of those feelings. Thankfully that was about as far as it got and the lowest I got.

Anyway….speaking about this in public is always nerve wracking, but I did it again last week. Once again, the audience were amazing. It was mainly mums, which no doubt helped, but the vibe was so supportive. I could tell as I spoke that many knew EXACTLY what I was talking about. The messages I received afterwards and the lovely chats I had confirmed this.

(Above left is Rachael Dennis from the charity NCT on the right the gorgeous Fay from How Felicity Finds)

It proved, yet again, how much more we need to speak up about these things. How much more awareness is needed. How much more education is needed on the possible symptoms of perinatal mental health issues. It’s not always just feeling sad. It’s not always just not bonding with your baby. It can be all manner of symptoms and all manner of combinations of them too. This is why Mum’s Back (aka ME!) does as much as possible to raise awareness and why £1 from every package I sell goes to perinatal mental health charity PANDAS Foundation.

I have shared this before, but I’m sharing it again because it’s the best summary I’ve seen on the possible symptoms of PND.

Credit to for the image

Thanks so much to the York Bump and Baby Expo for having me! To Vicki for once again being such a lovely and kind support (she truly is the most generous and kindest lady) and for being such an interesting person to interview, and to the amazing audience who made me feel so welcome and supported.

This blog was written by Sally Bunkham, founder of Mum’s Back; luxury hamper gifts for new mums.




When Mother’s Day Doesn’t Go To Plan


Mother's Day isn't always easy, for a multitude of reasons. I know Hannah from my work running my hamper gifts for new mums company, Mum's Back, and was delighted when she agreed to write this post for me.

In this article, Hannah describes what life was like as a new mum living with the health condition ME, especially around Mother's Day. Hannah says “I've learnt that life with a chronic illness can make things hard to navigate, but also has a habit nudging your life on a different path, bringing some lovely things along the way.” Thank you so much Hannah for your insight, and for this gorgeous blog….

It’s March 2011 and my first child is 6 months old. She’s beautiful, smiley, and apart from the odd projectile poo, a very easy baby to care for.

It’s my first Mother’s Day.

Since I was 14 I had dreamt of becoming a Mum. I loved children and had a husband who was eager to be a Dad – it was the perfect set up for a first time parent.

Except, it wasn’t.

I had been living with a long term chronic illness (ME) for seven years before I had my daughter. We hoped that somehow it would all be ok, and the need to rest a huge amount would somehow disappear as the delight of being a mother washed over me.

Turns out, autoimmune conditions don’t quite work that way. My muscles, energy and hormones crashed and burnt 4 months post birth.

I was a mess.

Like most first time mothers the three hourly night feeds were crippling, but for me, the fatigue was more than a coffee and a refreshing shower would fix.

As my first Mother’s Day approached, in all honestly I didn’t have the energy to care too much. I loved my baby dearly, but the physical need to lie down and sleep often overtook my longing to take her out, to play with her, to interact with the very creation I had spent 9 months growing and 30 years dreaming of producing.

Thankfully, my daughter was (and still is really) a contented and happy soul. But my circumstances meant I felt let down and often anxious at how I would cope with the day ahead. She wasn’t the best sleeper either, so her 30 minute power naps peppered throughout the day didn’t really lend to ‘sleeping when baby sleeps’ – (such shit advice to give a tired mother!)

My husband, (oh how lovely he is) knew I wasn’t coping and wanted me to know how well I was doing, so he got in touch with a friend, and tried to buy me something I would really love. He bought me a cardigan which I wanted (we couldn’t afford, but he could see he had a wife on the edge and was trying to do anything within his power to stop me crying all day long) – there were flowers and a gift and a happy, healthy baby.

All the things women the world over would long for.

I had friends who couldn’t conceive, I knew not of their pain.

I had friends whose husbands were inconsiderate idiots – mine was amazing.

I had all the things they longed for, yet not being physically able to meet the needs of your child hit me like a ton of bricks.

I felt deep joy – while also feeling deep deep disappointment.

The one thing it’s very hard to do when you are physically and emotionally exhausted (I don’t just mean tired, that’s different) is enjoy things. I felt happy, yes, but enjoying something when your body is in pain and your mind has frozen over due to fatigue, is overwhelmingly hard. And the sadness this lack of enjoyment bought only make the whole situation worse.

I have always been someone who enjoys things. I've never really needed lots of money or resources to have fun and feel happy, but my ability to ‘make the best of it’ had worn thin.

Some people said to me ‘ahh it’s only Mothers Day….don’t put so much pressure on yourself’. But you see, the thing was, I didn’t. I wasn’t really too bothered about the one day – it was the fact I knew, that deep down, it wasn’t going to get any better any time soon, and my life as a mother of young children was going to be significantly different from my peers…..I had been a Nanny, I had been a childminder, I had worked in a nursery, I knew what the toddler years would bring. I knew this wasn’t a temporary situation I had to ‘ride out’.

My body let me down.

Here’s the thing…sometimes, you can’t make lemonade from the lemons life gives you, because you’re too exhausted.

I was lucky, I have a family of amazing people who helped, provided and cared enough to get me through the early years of being a Mum.

But for those of you who are reading this who don’t have that support, well, it’s just a bit shit really, isn’t it?

Sometimes you gotta call the bad stuff what it is.

I am all for positive thinking, but there are times when – it’s just shit.

(You can’t make lemonade out of shit, it’s still nasty.)

Eight years on and my daughter no longer wakes every 3 hours for a feed – thank the lord! She has a 6 year old brother, and I’m about to celebrate my eighth Mother's Day. ( I have requested a new plant for my garden, you know, cos I’m cool like that!)

My health is still an issue, but when I have the opportunity to care for my health as it requires, my day to day life is much better – and this, in turn, makes me able to enjoy life more fully once more.

I had thought (hoped) that I would look back to eight years ago and forget the sadness I felt at being so unwell, for not only my first Mother's Day, but my second, third, fourth and fifth…but I haven’t. Those times are precious, and some of them I missed.

I enjoyed many, many moments that proceeded and came after that first Mother’s Day – there have been wonderful times.

But the sadness still remains when I reflect back….and you know, I think that’s ok.


This guest post was written by mum of 2, Hannah Deane, owner of Little Shout – a social media marketing company.

To follow and for more information about what she does you can find her over on Instagram and Facebook




Being A Step Mum & Mother’s Day



In this run up to Mother's Day, it is my quest to celebrate motherhood in all its many forms and guises. In this guest blog, I am lucky to have Louisa Hussey write about her experiences of being a step-mum, especially around Mother's Day. I really hope some of my gift hampers for mums make their way to some stepmums this year! 

I have been a stepmum for 5 years. My now husband and I met when his little boy was nearly 3. He lives with us two nights during the week, and every other weekend.

Things I do:

  • Half the school runs, spellings, and sort out his swimming bag.
  • Buy his clothes
  • Talk to him about Man Utd.
  • Remember that he loves chorizo and hates red peppers.
  • Buy presents for the birthday parties that he goes to,
  • TRY to read the 45,000 emails from school and remember when school trips are.
  • Try to keep my temper when he’s having a rage about something.
  • Love him unconditionally
  • Miss him when he’s not with us.

Things I don’t:

  • Remember which football team is playing who this weekend.
  • Remember to get his new trainers from his mum.
  • Waver on bedtimes – I am VERY strict on these!
  • Always keep my temper.
  • Like hearing ‘BUT MUMMY SAID I COULD’
  • Enjoy having to organise our life around his mum’s – when we want to go on holiday, we have to check months in advance, or if we’re trying to make plans with friends, it can be complicated getting dates that work for everyone.

We are extremely lucky, we have a good relationship with his mum and we live close enough to be part of his life in every way. I probably speak to his mum more than I speak to some of my own friends. We are very different and have hugely different parenting styles, but we try to keep a similar routine at both houses and aim for some level of consistency between us. He knows that we speak a lot and we facetime a lot as well, so when he’s not with us we can still see him and catch up on his news.

We do our very best to make sure he has everything he needs, but the very nature of him having two houses can lead to complications. Mostly logistical stuff like where his football boots are, remembering to give his coat back at the end of the weekend and searching for lost reading books. These things are ridiculously trivial but it can be an absolute nightmare if he comes to ours one weekend without a coat – it drives me crackers. We do our best, and the boy has more trainers and shoes than I can possibly imagine he needs. Yet, every so often, we can’t find a single pair. *Sigh*

From the very beginning, I have been his stepmum.  He is part of my husband, which means he’s part of me. I absolutely 100% take the responsibility, and always will.

My first Mother’s Day as a stepmum was extremely lovely. He came home from nursery and the teachers had made sure that he’d made me a card too. I am not ashamed to say that I sobbed! I’ve always had a lovely card from him. Sometimes his dad remembers to get me something too! His mum has always made him ring me if he’s at theirs, which is really lovely.

I remember last year being a bit sad, though. I’m always the one that checks his school bag, so saw the card he’d made for his mum. I remember secretly searching for mine. I was a tiny bit upset that there wasn’t one in there for me, but I tried to shrug it off – it was her day after all. Then on the Sunday he bounced into our room with a card for me – I STILL don’t know how he’d got it into the house without me knowing! Maybe my husband is better at keeping secrets than I thought… It was a truly lovely card too.

However, being a stepmum isn’t all sunshine and roses. We’re going through a particularly challenging time with him at the moment, and his behaviour can be downright horrendous. It’s hard when he refuses to listen to me and he has started using the ‘I want my mum’ line more and more, usually when he’s not getting his own way. That can be really hard.

It’s a funny thing isn’t it, Mothers Day? I just feel incredibly grateful that my stepson is in my life. He has a wicked sense of humour and I’m so proud of him. He’s grown from the tiniest 3 year old to the lankiest 8 year old who still enjoys a good bum joke and will sing christmas songs at the top of his voice in July. It can’t be easy having two families, two houses, 4 sets of grandparents, 2 sisters and a brother in different houses, and I think his behaviour reflects this. It does, however, come into its own at birthdays and christmases – he has more presents and parties than anyone I know!

I always try to be the best stepmum that he could ask for. We often have conversations about stepmums and stepdads – last year he told me he loved his mum and dad 100% and me 90%. We agreed that was a pretty good rate, all things considered.

Thanks so much to Louisa for this lovely blog. Louisa is currently training as a student EFT Tapping practitioner, and is looking for clients to work with over the next few months. EFT is a non invasive technique based on acupressure points, literally using your fingertips to tap on various points on the face and body. Many people come to EFT after exhausting all other conventional options. For more information and to contact Louisa, head over to


This blog was hosted by Sally Bunkham, founder of mumsback.comgifts for new mums focussed on the yummy stuff denied in pregnancy. £1 from every package sold goes to perinatal mental health charity PANDAS Foundation


Hatched By Two Chicks – Celebrating 2 Mum Families


I want to celebrate ALL versions of mums and their families. This seems especially relevant in the run up to Mothers’ Day. I am so lucky that I get to meet and network with many awesome mums in my work with my company, Mum's Back. Our main business is selling luxury hamper gifts for new mums, but along the way we also get to discuss parenting and motherhood in its many different forms. In this guest post, the lovely author, Louise Tondeur, has put together an article about what life is like being in a 2 mum family and how they celebrate Mothers’ Day in their house. Louise has also got some input from her community who are also mums in a same sex couple family. Enjoy! 

“We love it! Two mums = double the presents, double fun on the day, but it’ll be expensive when our children get older!” (Simone)

 What’s it like being part of a two-mum family on Mothers’ Day? It’s the same as it is in any family: it's different depending on each family’s traditions. I didn’t want to rely on my own version, so I asked five mums to explain. Turns out that the biggest difference is that it’s up to the mums to organise it for themselves.

Only one person having a lie in

Ruth said her pet niggle was “only getting the option of one person having a lie in, or breakfast in bed. Our 6-year-old is too young to do it. So, one of us (often me) has to get up and help.”

That’s definitely true if your kids are young. I bought us a joint hamper gift this year, because I can’t resist anything that involves wine, cheese and crackers, and while I’ve told our son that he’s making us breakfast in bed. we’ve been getting up early for years so we’ll probably all roll out of bed like we usually do.

That said, I was so incredibly excited on our first Mothers’ Day, which was only a couple of weeks after our son came out of hospital (he was born early), I stayed in bed like it was Christmas morning, baby in arms, waiting for my card, and let my wife make me pancakes. But we’d already been together a long time before we became mums so (she won’t mind me saying) we’d got over the ‘being super nice to each other stage’ of our relationship. When our son was younger, relay sleeping appealed way more than breakfast in bed.

We focus on our own mums

Laura felt that trying to organise Mothers’ Day for each other was too pressurised, so they save the treats for their own mums:

“It’s just like every day for us. Neither one of us gets special treatment. Our own mums are our focus on this day – trying to make it about us makes it too pressurised and just hasn’t been that successful. Maybe it’ll get easier when the kids are older!” (Laura)

That made me wonder if there’s an exchange of presents or if it’s only one way. I didn’t know – and I still don’t – whether other people in your family are ‘supposed’ to acknowledge your ‘mumness’ on Mothers’ Day. I think my mum sent us a card in our first year, but my baby-memories are hazy, and I can’t remember what happened next.

Card and present making at school

Depending on the school or nursery, if you’re not in a family made up of a mum and a dad, you might have to let them know in advance how you want them to approach present and card making. Our son got to make a joint card and pretend daffodil for Mothers’ Day at his first nursery for instance.

Later in the year they asked us who he’d like to make his fathers’ day card for, and we went for his Grandpa and his Uncle. I really like how that expands the definition of mothers’ day and fathers’ day, so they encompass any mothers and fathers that are special to you, and kids without one or the other don’t feel left out.

That idea is especially true for us at the moment as my wife lost her mum last year, and I lost my dad fairly recently too. At this time of year I used to buy cards for my Nana, my Grannie, my mum, my wife and my mother-in-law – now there are only two of those people left to buy for.

It can be pretty overwhelming seeing the adverts for Mothers’ Day or Fathers’ Day when you’ve lost a parent and being able to connect the day to other mother and father figures in your life can help, as can having a big cry, and watching repeated episodes of Friends (in my case).

“Often places do ‘mums get in free’ on Mothers’ Day. Makes for a cheap day out!” (Kate)

If you go to a ‘mums get in free’ event in a two-mum family, then you’re quids in! Last year my mum, my wife and I went to the Weald and Downland Museum with our son and I was really worried beforehand about telling them that none of the adults would be paying, but they didn’t even bat an eyelid. I noticed this year that the Sealife Centre are doing a Mums Go Free promotion but only with a full paying adult. I like how they state that upfront – because I’d rather know than get embarrassed at the till – but I think it’s unfair on one parent families.

Maddy’s Day and Mom’s Day

I also discovered that some families have an innovative approach to Mothers’ Day:

“We have two different days as our son calls me Mum and my wife Maddy. Maddy’s day is the lesser known Saturday before Father’s Day. It means my wife gets her own day and I get a few reminders with the Father’s Day adverts! It works for us. Moonpig et al means we’ve always made bespoke Maddy’s day cards!” (Hannah)

I love the idea of Maddy’s day and am thinking of adapting the idea for use in June if I can find a way of adding ‘Louise’s Day’ to our calendar without anyone noticing. I also really loved this response:

“My partner is American, so we celebrate UK Mothers’ Day for me, British mum, and USA Mother’s Day (usually in May) for the kids’ American mom. that way we both get a nod and we acknowledge both countries take on Mothers’ Day.” (Jane)

Where does the apostrophe go?

And finally, the all-important question: where does the apostrophe go? I’m a Creative Writing tutor by day (and sometimes by night) and have a PhD in English so I’m officially allowed to be pedantic about punctuation. There are actually two answers to the question:

1) Nowhere. It’s not called Mothers’ Day. It’s called Mothering Sunday.

2) Wherever you want it to. It depends what you mean.

If you want it to mean that it’s all about your mum, it’s Mother’s Day – like saying ‘it’s my mum’s special day’. I’m going to stick my neck out and say that this is true even if more than one person in your family is focusing on their own mum.

If you mean that the day is about celebrating lots of mums all over the place, it’s Mothers’ Day – like saying ‘it’s the day of all mothers today’ or in the case of this article, or you’d use Mothers’ Day if you mean you’re personally celebrating more than one mum at the same time.

Louise Tondeur is a freelance writer and tutor, novelist and short story writer. You can check out her author website here.

She blogs about finding time to write here.


Thanks so much to Louise! This blog was written for Sally Bunkham, founder of Mum's Back, hamper gifts for mums. £1 from every package sold goes to perinatal mental health charity PANDAS Foundation.