This interview is with Paige, a mother of one who lives in Wales. Paige’s Instagram name is @swearymummy and it is probably this that first drew me to her. She uses many of my favourite words, and often. Paige posts honestly about the problems she has faced in terms of mental health and, more recently, fertility problems as well as the multiple allergies that her daughter suffers from. I spent a long time reading through Paige’s Instagram and I have to say that although it was very funny in parts, I found it captivatingly candid. I found her very easy to relate to on a number of issues and her approach to her body image and confidence in particular is inspiring to me.
Read on and see if you agree with me!
1) Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
Hi, thank you for having me! I’m Paige, a 24 year old, extremely sweary mother of one, my beautiful daughter H. I’ve been engaged to my partner R (the biggest pain in my arse) for 4 years and we live in Wales.
2) If you could give one piece of advice for an expectant mother, what would it be?
You can read every book under the sun about pregnancy and parenting, but nothing will ever prepare you for looking after that little human; don’t stress about it as most of us are just winging it and hoping for the best anyway! To a first time mum I’d tell them to make the most of sleeping as much as possible, as sleep becomes a distant memory when that baby arrives.
3) All of us parent differently and have different values. What is your most important parenting value?
Manners and kindness! Manners are so important to me. Saying please and thank you costs nothing and being kind is the best thing you can be.
4) what motto do you try and live by?
I don’t really have one; however, try not to be a **** is something I tell myself most days!
5) What are your hopes for your daughter?
I hope she grows up happy, healthy and knows how much she is loved by her family.
6) You have been very open about your battle with mental health. Lots of people struggle to do the same because of feelings of shame or are worried about the stigma attached. Why do you think society reacts so differently to mental illness as opposed to a visible illness?
I actually think that society is changing for the better in regards to mental health; we’ve come a long way! Slowly but surely we’re chipping away at the stigma that surrounds mental health. One in four of us will develop a mental health problem at some point in our lives and more and more people are speaking out about mental illnesses, which I think is helping others out there to do the same and seek help. It’s no longer the secret illness.
There will always be someone that just doesn’t understand mental illness or doesn’t think it’s as important as a physical illness, and so doesn’t know how to react to it. Even my mum doesn’t really understand it and I suffered with pre-natal depression, post natal depression and episodes of psychosis! We’re extremely close, but she just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just snap out of how I was feeling. I think some people believe that mental illness is something you can control and maybe that’s why they’re not as accepting of it as they are a physical illness. Maybe it’s even ignorance? I don’t know, all I know is that being a prisoner in your own mind is the worst illness I’ve ever had.
7) You suffer from fibromyalgia. Could you explain what that is and how you cope with it from day to day?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain and fatigue illness. It’s a bastard, but I try not to let it control my life. There are some days when I can’t do as much as I would like to but I’ve learnt to live with that! I take so many pills for it I’m like a chemist! I’m surprised I don’t rattle as I walk, haha!
8) You opened up about the fact that you are struggling to conceive a much wanted second child. You were told that because you already have a child, any medical intervention will have to be funded by yourself and not the NHS. NHS funding for infertility treatment is very much in the news right now. How do you feel about argument that it shouldn’t be funded at all for any couple?
For people like me, who already have a child, I think it’s fair that we aren’t entitled to IVF on the NHS. We’re so lucky that we already have H. For couples that don’t already have children and are desperately trying and can’t afford to pay for IVF, I think it would be extremely unfair to be denied the opportunity to have children because of some cost cutting exercise.
9 You are a beautiful woman with a family that loves you and yet you talk about your weight a lot. You’ve posted a few photos on Instagram of you in your swimming costume, overcoming your body image issues so you can make memories with your daughter. How amazing is that?! There will be lots of women out there (myself included) who will be able to take one more step towards being able to do the same thing, just because you posted those pictures.
Do you worry about the medias impact on your daughter and her body image? Has it impacted on yours?
I do worry about it a bit. I read an article a few days ago about girls as young as seven wanting plastic surgery! I didn’t even know what plastic surgery was when I was seven! I was probably still eating mud at that age. The world we live in has changed and most kids live their lives through social media these days; I think this opens them up to seeing constant, air-brushed, unreal photos of gorgeous celebrities that don’t even need airbrushing, and will make children have a distorted view on what’s normal. I’ll be trying my best to drill in to her that everything you see in the media isn’t the real version of people and that she’s beautiful no matter what. Like you said though, I do mention my weight a lot and I really need to work on not mentioning my body hang ups around H as I’m sure how I am about my own body will impact on her more than the media. I’ve gained 5 stone since I had her and although I was completely confident in those photos I posted online, I’m not like that every day. Some days my image gets me down and I do think the media has a massive influence on that. In fact, I’ve stopped buying most magazines because I’m fed up of reading stories about celebrities that have gained weight, celebs that have lost weight and every other page being a diet plan that will give you the best bikini body ever *major eye rolls*. There’s so much going on in the world that I don’t really understand why there is so much attention on how a person looks! What you weigh will never define who you are as a person.
10) Parenting is tough and beautiful all at the same time. Can you tell us about a tough time and a shining moment that you’ve had as a parent?
The toughest time will always be the start of my journey, when I was horrendously mentally ill and dealing with a baby with undiagnosed severe allergies, GORD, a feeding aversion and sandifers syndrome. Nothing has ever been harder than that, but we have shining moments every day! She makes me proud by being such a polite and kind little girl and I sit there and think yep, we’re doing a good job even if she is a little evil some days.
I really hope that you enjoyed getting to know Paige a little better, her Instagram is well worth a follow!
Instagram – sweary_mummy