A busy mum of five who juggles her children and numerous businesses has launched a brand new course designed to provide parents-to-be with essential pre and post natal support during the UK’s lockdown, after experiencing mental health struggles and business challenges during the nationwide restrictions.
Rachael Kirkwood launched the country’s first and only dedicated pregnancy and motherhood salon with childcare facilities, mother and baby classes and a children’s boutique, MAMA Sanctuary before the pandemic hit. Loved by celebrities such as Brooke Vincent and Hayley Tamaddon, it is a 2020 Salon of the Year nominee that allows mums to enjoy some much-needed ‘me time’, confident that their children are nearby and being cared for by experienced childcare staff.
Like many businesses, it was forced to close last year as a result of COVID-19. Shortly after, Kirkwood was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADD. She suffered a further blow when a fire destroyed her home just a few weeks before Christmas. Rather than be defeated, she resolved to channel her tough experiences into something positive for other women.
The Complete Pregnancy & Motherhood course has been developed with support from 21 professionals working in the mother and baby industry, including NMC Registered Midwife Abigail Latif, Holistic Pregnancy Coach Anja Moncrieff, Registered Dietician Nichola Ludlam-Raine, and NHS Health Visitor Aimee Booth, who each provide valuable insight and information on their specialist areas of expertise.
The Complete Pregnancy & Motherhood course covers a wide range of topics, from pregnancy and labour to hypnobirthing, breastfeeding, how to baby demonstrations, baby first aid, baby sleep, weaning and more. It has been designed to cover practically everything that expectant and new parents need to know.
Rachael Kirkwood, who also founded the children’s clothing boutique Mollie & Oli, said, “Very few of us enter into parenthood expecting to be doing it all on our own, we enter in knowing that we’ve got experts to turn to, but the sad fact is that many new parents right now are alone.
“During the course of the pandemic, we’ve seen new mums and dads beginning this journey in complete isolation, separated from the people that most desperately want to be there to support them, and most worryingly of all is that we’ve seen women being forced to give birth alone, without their partner, which can be a hugely terrifying and upsetting experience. More needs to be done to support parents at this time, and I hope that my new online course will go at least some way towards achieving that goal.”
The launch of the course comes amid mountain concerns around mental health, with pregnant women and new parents considered to be high risk demographics due to the lack of support they have been able to access during the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, around 15% of women were diagnosed with depression or anxiety after giving birth. Over the past 12 months, that figure has risen to 40%.
The course can be accessed through Rachael’s website – www.mumtobe.com, with 10% of all enrolment fees being donated to the Bliss Charity, and to Ronald McDonald House charities.