Interview with Melanie Lawson

Melanie Lawson

Bare Biology

Maternal Balance has been working closely with Bare Biology; a British marine supplement brand providing pure and powerful supplements supported by science and real stories. They provide high-quality omega-3 to support all stages of life, including pregnancy and post-natal health.

We interviewed Founder and CEO of Bare Biology, Melanie Lawson, about her own experience with maternal mental health. As a mother of three, Melanie experienced both pre and postnatal anxiety and depression. After discovering the benefits omega-3 had on her mental health, she scoured the planet to find the very best fish oil producer and created Bare Biology in 2012. One of her missions is to help mums feel less alone in their struggle and raise awareness about the importance of omega-3.

When did you first realise you were struggling with your mental health?

“I’ve had OCD most of my life and have also suffered from anxiety, sometimes depression. My postnatal depression kicked in after the birth of my second child, my son Oscar. But now I realise the anxiety element of it started after the birth of my first baby, Grace, and worsened when I was pregnant with Oscar.”

What were the first signs of your postnatal depression and anxiety?

“I can remember walking along the River Thames with Grace in her pushchair and being terrified that I’d be taken over by some evil force that would compel me to throw her in the river. I would get vivid visions flash into my head and would actually step away from the edge, just in case.

“I also developed an irrational fear of Grace vomiting and would literally go into a blind panic if she looked peaky. She was quite a pukey child for various reasons, so I was in constant fear. It sounds ridiculous now, but I was consumed with anxiety and it was no fun at all. If I heard that achild at her nursery or a child we’d been in contact with had been sick, I’d practically hose her down as if there had been an Ebola outbreak and would spend hours trying to persuade myself that she hadn’t caught the bug. I hated myself for being so ‘weird’ and was desperate not to pass my fears on to Grace, so I was constantly berating myself and trying to hide it from her andfrom others.”

How did your mental health struggles develop after the birth of your second child?

“After Oscar was born, the really low feeling kicked in and then the overwhelm. I would have moments when I couldn’t make a single decision and would be paralysed by a simple task. I couldn’t think straight and everything seemed monumentally difficult. At the time we had noisy neighbours and Oscar didn’t sleep well, so I was also suffering from horrific sleep deprivation.

“I would walk to the beach with Oscar in his pram and would sit for ages on my own with him, thinking about how useless I was and how everyone would be better off without me. It all sounds melodramatic now, but I literally felt wretched. I’d look at other mums and families and wonder how they could seem so happy and so relaxed. I was wound up inside like a tight ball of wire and couldn’t see joy in anything.

I remember my husband’s birthday when he had his brothers and their wives over for a late, boozy dinner, and I was desperately trying to be sociable, the good hostess and the good wife. But I just wanted to scream at them all to be quiet, to go away and to stop having fun in front of me. I felt so confused. I wanted to be normal again and have a laugh but I also wanted to disappear and make everyone go away. I felt lonely as hell and I hated myself, with a passion.”

What did you do, to begin to help yourself and start to get better?

“I eventually asked for help from my health visitor and GP. And I also found a support group for mums with postnatal depression. A combination of lifestyle changes, talking therapy and makingsome other mum friends really helped me pull through.

I’ve also found starting and running a business has helped my mental health. It’s strange because it is stressful and pressured, and it certainly gives me cause for anxiety at times, but keeping my brain engaged and giving me a purpose outside of being a mum has really helped me. I’m also on a never-ending quest for self-improvement and I know that things like meditation, exercise, eating well, limiting caffeine, sleeping enough, and taking time to relax do really keep me on track.”

How do you believe omega-3 played a role in your recovery?

“Omega-3 is an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid found almost exclusively in fish and seafood. It’s called essential because we need it but our bodies can’t make it on their own.

Many mums are told by their GP to limit the amount of fish they’re eating due to heavy metals and toxins. During pregnancy your body will prioritise your omega-3 supply to grow your baby’s eyes and brain. The same happens during breastfeeding so a lot of mums are left severely depleted.

I think this played a big part in my mental health decline. As an exhausted and postnatally depressed mother with young children, omega-3 was a life saver for me. Without it, I am just not me.

Choosing a fish oil supplement that is pure and safe like our Mums & Bumps capsules means you’ll be able to meet your omega-3 dietary requirements, in a form that’s both easy to take and free from harmful toxins. We get every batch of our fish oil 3rd party tested for heavy metals and contaminants, so you know you and your baby are getting the very best.”

mums and bumps on bedside table

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