Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Savour the moment ... with BBC Radio Manchester

This morning I was a guest on Heather Stott's coffee shop slot on BBC Radio Manchester.
Listen again at:

Fellow guests were Wendy Breakell, Director of School of Sound Recording
and Nicky Oliver of Nicky Oliver hairdressing

We chatted about some of the unusual newspaper stories in addition to snippets about ourselves. These included the baker who sells a loaf for £21; the decline of church weddings and happiness in your job.

I declared that I have not got a job but am following my passion and purpose to make early parenthood happier for others and to fight the stigma and ignorance around mental illness. I do sincerely believe that and remain humbled and privileged to do what I do.
Also very grateful to those who support me to do this.

I also commented that although I wouldn't pay that much for bread I did acknowledge the pleasure that food can bring. It is part of my mental health tool kit to 'savour the moment' at regular times as a respite and appreciation from the hectic world we live in. 'Take notice' is also one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing identified by the New Economic Foundation. Two weeks ago in Italy I did this with a Danish pastry when I was there for the Exposanita Healthcare exhibition! The hotel restaurant was an exquisite theatre. The delicate Danish pastry was amazing! As it melted in my mouth I almost melted into the chair! I indulged myself in really focusing on it's texture, taste and smell whilst looking at the beautiful paintings on the ceiling and being aware of the serene classical music playing! Wow! So much better than rushing it and thinking about what time my plane was, etc. Just a few focussed moments and I created a magical moment in an oasis from the chaos of life.

What can you do today to make a moment like this?

I had another moment I wanted to preserve last week. I took my baby niece, Sophie, shopping to get new baby great niece, Alanna, some clothes. As I surveyed the cute little dresses Sophie (age 15 weeks) began to niggle. I lifted her out of the pram and chatted to her about what I was doing. I held up different outfits for her to look at. Some she definitely chuckled and smiled at, others - no reaction. We chose the two she was most excited about! It was magical! It also reminded me of the very special children I used to teach who could not verbally communicate but we would give them choices to make in this way. Sophie repeated the action at the check out making me a very proud Auntie! The wonder of baby chuckles!

I also reflected on how my postnatal illness had robbed me of savouring special times like this. I was always anxious and rushing onto the next stage. Meanwhile my beloved Dominic grew up fast! When I spend time with him now I make sure I appreciate it. As a young man of 14 he is at a different stage altogether and sharing increasingly adult things with him is fun! Although I acknowledge if I gushed about how proud of him I am at a check-out when he was with me I'd be in BIG trouble!

However, I do have his permission to share this amazing project he has made for an English GCSE assignment during half term. He has done the majority of the film editing and he is the Hobbit, tramp, Frankenstein and 'the boy'. The rest of the team were Tom Roberts, Jack Simcott and Nicholas Chambers. Very well done and the A* grade was deserved!

As I walked through a shop with Sophie a kind elderly gentleman stopped me to look at her. He assumed she was my baby and warmly advised me to 'enjoy this time with her - they aren't with you long before they get their independence'. He understood the importance of savouring the moment. Also the pleasure (and sometimes pain) of being a parent.

Seeing my brother with his first grandchild on Sunday was also beautiful.

I feel like my late great grandmother who told my Mum when she was expecting me 'children bring their love'!

If you are reading this as a new parent and don't feel this way, please get help! The sooner postnatal depression is recognised and treated, the sooner you will get better and live the magic moments.

Elaine Hanzak

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