For this feature strong women and nutrition have collided! Earlier this year one of my nutrition friends posted about a brand called Bare Biology. I’m always on the hunt for good quality supplements (with supplements you really do pay for what you get) and as omega 3 is one that I use with all my clients I was intrigued and promptly ordered some myself.
And then I dug a little deeper and got to know Melanie’s story, the founder of Bare Biology. If you’ve been following my strong women series you’ll know it’s based on women who have come through adversity and have created something out of those dark days, and this is no different.
Melanie has 3 beautiful children but it was only after her second that she realised that she had post natal depression. That feeling of despair and feeling utterly miserable. If you’ve ever experienced grief or depression you’ll know how that feels and you’ll know it’s hard to see your way out.
Melanie knew she didn’t want to go onto medication and so started looking into nutrition. Omega 3 has been shown in numerous studies to be helpful in depression. And some say that omega 3, which is essential for brain function, can take many years to replenish after childbirth, add to that that most mothers have consecutive pregnancies and it’s no wonder we’re not feeling like ourselves.
Melanie found it difficult to find a good quality omega 3 supplement in the UK. Quality and purity is so important. And so the story of Bare Biology began.
Tell us how it felt in those early days of post natal depression (PND)?
I was very agitated and anxious all the time. I had an unusually short temper and would burst into tears easily. Everything felt like a huge effort and everything was stressful.
When did you realise is was PND?
I realised when I had several major meltdowns, with incontrollable sobbing and feelings of panic. I knew it was more than just tiredness. I have a history of anxiety and OCD, and my mother had severe PND, so it just clicked and I asked for help from my health visitor.
What got you through your most darkest days?
The desire to be a good mum and get better for the sake of my children. I had lots of reasons to be grateful and lots of good things in my life, so even when I felt terrible I tried to remind myself that I would feel better one day and I had a lot to live for.
What’s the one thing that you learnt the most about what you went through?
Symptoms of post natal depression are widespread and varied. I think many people assume the main, or only, symptom is feeling very down but there are many more symptoms. It depends on the person, obviously, but my main symptoms were anxiety, feeling very ‘highly strung’, phobias and feelings of self-loathing. Many mums think they feel ‘off’ because they’re tired, but it’s important to really check how you feel as it might be something more which needs medical support.
How are you different now that you’ve experienced what you have?
I’m more aware of changes in my mood and I don’t take wellbeing for granted. I enjoy the times when I feel good and I evaluate my lifestyle when I’m not. I make sure I get enough sleep, where possible, and I try to be a bit kinder to myself (not one of my strong points!).
What would you say to someone going through what you’ve been through?
Don’t accept that it’s part and parcel of being a mum. Get help from your GP, health visitor, family and friends. Be open and honest about how you feel and you’ll be surprised how many others feel the same but are too scared to admit it. There really is no shame in it. You wouldn’t feel ashamed to tell someone you have the flu, and PND is no different – it’s an illness.
Tell us what inspired you to create Bare Biology.
Irritation with the lack of transparency and quality in the supplement market. I believe in helping ourselves and putting things right if something is wrong. We can’t sit around and wait for someone else to do it, no matter what it is. And this was no different. I am such a believer in the power of Omega 3 that I felt compelled to launch my own brand.
Your last word …
It’s never too late to change aspects of your life you’re unhappy with. It’s also really important to take care of your physical and mental health. Being a mum is a marathon and we have to make sure we’re equipped to last the course.
‘Look after yourself first and then you’ll have the energy for everything else’
Nicky is a registered nutritional therapist who takes an integrative approach that works on both the body and the mind. She’s passionate about teaching women (and Mums) to look after themselves first, so that they can be there for their children and have the energy for whatever life has in store.
Nicky qualified from The Institute for Optimum Nutrition in 2009 and is registered with The British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT), and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).