After suffering from depression since she was 27, including postnatal depression following the birth of her first child, Cat Sims has launched a Hot For Mental Health campaign.

Through completing five hot yoga sessions in one day on April 26 at the Hot Yoga House in Eastecote, Cat, 36, hopes to raise awareness of mental health issues around motherhood and pregnancy and, hopefully, raise money for London charity, Cocoon Family Support.

Cat, who lives in Harrow with her two children Billie, 4, and Bo, 18 months (pictured below), began blogging about her experience as a mum when her first born was eight months.

Harrow Times:

She said it wasn’t until a year after her birth that she realised she had been struggling with postnatal depression following the birth.

“It honestly felt a little bit like I’d been punched in the face,” she explains. “I was completely overwhelmed and at the time there wasn’t quite enough honesty about how overwhelming it can be.

“You are given this human to keep alive, and you have to do it with your boobs. I found it really overwhelming. This inspired me to break down the boundaries and be really open and pull back the curtain on mental health issues to do with motherhood and parenting because – I’m not saying that postnatal depression is harder than any other kind of depression – I think there are extra layers of guilt that come with it.”

Cat has always sought to be very honest with her blog about the highs and lows of pregnancy and motherhood. She tells me: “The response to that has always been huge. It definitely gets traction because people want to talk about it.”

One of the things Cat struggled with was breastfeeding. When she finally decided to switch to bottled formula, despite being “made to feel like it was a combination of cocaine, tequila and dung beetles”, she sobbed and continued to feel horrendously judged by her health visitor.

“At that moment I knew it was ridiculous and that we needed to get rid of this dialogue. It needs to be more honest and it has to have the parents in mind. These babies are pretty resilient and if you’re miserable then nobody is having a good time.

“I still go to playgroups and find myself in these conversations with mums where I just want to shake them and tell them I’m not competing. You do you and I’ll do me and we can all just get on with it.”

Harrow Times:

Hot Yoga is a form of exercise that Cat found hugely beneficial in overcoming postnatal depression.

When I ask her about her five session challenge she asks, perhaps to herself more than me: “what was I thinking?”

In March Cat hopes to increase her training by completing multiple sessions each day, a big ask on top of work and parenting. One of her biggest concerns of the day is something that may be a little out of her hands.

“One of the main things is dehydration, but more so losing salt and then cramping. I don’t want to give up because of cramp. If I give up I want it to be because I’m a sobbing mess in the corner, not my body.”

In the lead up to the event she will be training alongside celebrities including Rochelle Humes, Cherry Healey and fellow bloggers Scummy Mummies, with more names yet to be announced.

All donations will go to Cocoon Family Support. Cat says: “I really wanted to help a small charity that was doing something really good. I don’t know how much money I am going to raise and so I thought if it was a small charity then all the money would be really beneficial.

“The work they do is amazing. It isn’t just the mum it affects but the whole family. They give loads of support for the family and the individual, I just really love what they do.”

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