Updated: Jun 22
Embarking on the journey of motherhood is an exciting new chapter, but sometimes things never plan out the way we think they will.
I was in my own happy world, loving every minute of being an expectant mother and things were even better when my son, Ash, finally arrived. However, the joyous feeling of being a new mum was short-lived. At 7 months' old, Ash was diagnosed with multiple food allergies and our life changed instantly. Allergies? What does this mean? I had no idea as to what was going on.
Sky high anxiety
I watched my son having allergic reactions and my mental wellbeing was compromised. No one understood the severity of Ash’s allergies, life was on auto pilot and I stopped socialising. I was too scared to try Ash on new foods, or even eat out. My anxiety was sky high and sometimes I would cry alone wanting to leave as I was grieving for my old life. Fear had started to impact my way of living.
Then, in 2015 my brother, Bob, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and we were told his life expectancy was only 5 years or less. I tried to process this information. Those years were a rollercoaster not just with his health and treatment but as a family and the emotional impact this was having. He would have treatment and his health would improve, but then months later a new tumour would be found, and the cycle would begin again.
Losing my brother
Almost exactly 5 years later we saw him deteriorate even further and we lost him on 3rd March 2020 just a week after his 39th birthday. For those 5 years I had suppressed my feelings but in lockdown everything was coming up to the surface. At times I would all of a sudden feel like I was going to pass out, or at meal times I felt like I had a food phobia and something was stuck in my throat.
I realised how much of a negative impact Ash's allergies and Bob's diagnosis had been having on my mental wellbeing. I started my own coaching journey which allowed me to learn more about myself as an individual, my strengths & weaknesses. Being able to understand how I could move forward; I was able to take on the challenges I faced on the way. I learnt how to recognise my thought patterns and what my triggers were. I am now a qualified Master Practitioner and an allergy coach. I provide 1:1 coaching service and a safe place to speak, which allows me to support and help families.
Investing in myself
Choosing to go on my own coaching journey has helped me a lot. It allowed me to invest in myself, improve myself and create a supportive environment, but it’s also given me the tools to use when my mind starts to play tricks on me and the “What if…?” questions start to take over.
So how do I silence those thoughts? Having a morning and evening routine helps, but when I add 5 minutes of meditation it become more powerful. It helps me to focus my attention and eliminate the stream of thoughts that crowd my mind and causes stress.
Journaling every other night elicits mindfulness and helps me to remain in the present. It allows me to recognise what triggers my fears, anxieties, self-doubts as well as the day-to-day challenges and how better can I learn to manage them. Journaling opens opportunities for positive self-talk, which helps with mindset change.
Dealing with my brother's loss was painful, my thoughts were out of my control and were spiralling downwards. When I used to feel really anxious I used the tapping therapy also known as EFT. Tapping allowed me to vocalise my words whilst physically tapping my meridian points - this released my blocked energy and I felt relaxed, light and in a calm state.
I continue to use these methods to manage my mental state and together with counselling I am now in a much healthier place and able to focus my energies on helping others.
Jay is an NLP Master practitioner and supports families as an allergy coach. She runs an allergy support group and a private Facebook group: The Allergy Club.