ISABELLA AND US POSITIVE WELLBEING ZINE FOR MUMS #HonestReview

#HonestReview : I do not receive any payment for #HonestReviews which means that I can be very honest with my readers.

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I would like to receive a copy of a new publication for Mums, called Positive Wellbeing: Isabella and Us I agreed to look at the publication, but I was not convinced that it would have any relevance to me as my children are now teenagers. A parcel arrived in the post with the publication and at first, I gave it only a brief glance. However, I was immediately struck by the beautiful illustrations and as I looked at it in more detail, I was amazed by what a useful and unique publication this was.

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The publication is the brainchild of Emma Cottam. It is published quarterly and is designed to promote positive wellbeing in parents and awareness of maternal mental health through a campaign with the hashtag   Emma is a mum herself and has experienced Post-Natal depression. This publication takes a very different view to most baby magazines as it promotes the difficulties mothers face. As the introduction in the zine states, “Being a mum is tough and often so much of what we read, and buy is for our little ones. It is so important that as a mum we take time for us.”

This is such a refreshing new take on motherhood. I had Post-natal depression with both of my children. I can remember the despair I felt that I was useless as a Mum. I breast fed both of my children, but my daughter was born with teeth – and very sharp teeth they were too! I fed her for about three months, but it was a very painful experience and I was advised by my GP to give her formula milk instead. I can not under-estimate how useless this made me feel. Of course, the GP was right. But struggling with Post-Natal depression, made me think I had failed.

I remember when I gave up work to look after my son, how bored I became for much of his first few months. Going from working full-time to being at home was a huge change. I was also living in a new area and I had very few friends nearby. It was awful. In the end, with both of my children I returned to work. With my son, I just worked part-time and with my daughter, I returned to work when she was four months of age.

How I would have loved in those early days, to have been able to read something like this to make me feel that I was not on my own and that I was doing my best to

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So, what does the magazine contain?

The magazine is illustrated with the most beautiful drawings and it reminded me more of the publications I receive from being a member of a literary society than a magazine. The illustrations are provided by Adeline Hénon-Laurans. https://thecovengirlgang.com/directory/2018/8/19/adeline-hnon-laurans and Nia Tudor @NiaTudor I love the way in which the designs are calming and subtle. The magazine had a range of articles about gifts for treating other Mums, colour consultancy, being a new mum, mums with businesses, top-tips and my favourite – sleep training and mental health. There are a lot of beautiful affirmations to guide you and I thought this idea was particularly important. After reading the zine the impression I had was that this zine feels like a virtual hug of support, embracing mothers and telling us that we are all doing the best that we can.

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When I used to look at Parenting magazines, everyone seemed to be parenting much better than me. The models were Mums with perfect make-up. None of the babies looked as though they had just vomited all their milk back up or done a particularly explosive nappy. It was creating a perfect ideal that few can ever match up to and that is not real life. The way that this zine is produced is more realistic and supportive. Using colour illustrations is far more empathetic.

The zine also places great emphasis on the importance of ‘self-care’ for new parents. I think as mothers we all want to be the best we can, but we often neglect to remember that you can not run on low energy. The zine provides ideas for self-care that are very simple and emphasises the importance of remaining calm through meditation. I also like the idea of having a page with ‘Mum Wins’ – those tiny moments such as getting children to bed on time, not being covered in reflux milk etc. I really think that new parents will love these and it certainly gives a more realistic idea of motherhood.

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When I first read the zine, I didn’t realise that there were some advertisements. The advertisements are very subtle, and they are all the sort of things that many parents would be interested in.

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I loved this publication and I only wish that it had been around when my two were babies as I am sure that it would have gone a long way to making my first months with a new baby a lot less fraught and I would have found the zine reassuring and supportive. I just wish there was something like this out there for menopausal women!

You can read more about Isabella and Us the positive wellbeing zine at https://isabellaandus.com/positive-wellbeing-zine

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