Feeling Mushy – Mush: The Social Network for Mums

Becoming a mum is the most daunting thing that most women will ever face. You can adore being a mum, love the nighttime feeds and the conversations of babbles, but you’re still allowed to feel like you’ve suddenly been cut off from society.

One of the toughest adjustments that becoming a mum has brought for me is the isolation. As someone who has studied or worked in one of the UK’s biggest cities for the past four years, suddenly feeling confined to the sleepy little village that I live in has been a bit of a culture shock.

I mean, sure, I could bundle Hallie’s 1 million things up, get her in the buggy, make myself the human version of Buckaroo and four hours later, away we go to navigate public transport and deal with crowds of people being annoyed by my crying baby… but somedays, the thought of that makes me want to lock my door and never leave the house again.

My biggest issue is that I don’t drive, but I live MILES away from all of my friends and my family. Now, the simple thing to do would be to make more friends locally, but if you thought making friends as a teenager was bad, it’s even harder as an adult, that is until I discovered the wonderful Mush.

Mush, mush mums, feeling mushy, mush app for mums

Mush is the incredible brainchild of London mums Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor – adding to their brood of actual children. 

Sarah and Katie met in a rainy playground three years ago when they were both getting to grips with having ‘two under two’. That chance meeting led to them becoming firm friends, and left them wondering why there wasn’t a better way to find mums in the same boat.

They launched Mush in May 2016 and there are now hundreds of thousands of users around the world using the app.

The primary purpose of Mush is for mums to make friends and see that there are plenty of us out there in the same boat, not only by being able to talk to nearby mums or further afield mums (coming in the next few months), but there is also entertaining content in the form of Mush guides. 

Mush guides let us see that we’re not the only ones who think our homes have suddenly been taken over by tiny dictators who rule every aspect of our lives from now on. (They totally do rule every aspect, but lets pretend otherwise) Mush guides are entertaining, honest, and great company for night feeds, or when you’ve just got said tiny dictator down for an afternoon nap and you daren’t risk moving in fear of waking them.

What I love most about Mush is the ability to see nearby mums, and thanks to an update in Q3 2017, nearby places that those mums have recommended. Recommendations include things like price range, parking, closeness to transport, if the place is breast feeding friendly and the all important buggy friendliness!

Being able to see nearby mums allows you to interact with people within your community that you may not have encountered otherwise. The app allows you to set a distance in which you would like to search for mums (Think Tinder, but without the dick pics).

On each persons profile is space for a photo, a blurb about themselves along with their name, how many children they have, the gender of their children and how old their children are.

Mush has two primary ways to connect with other users. There’s the Mush-ups section of the apps which is a great forum for any questions that you face in the journey of motherhood, or if you’re maybe looking to pass or sell-on any of your babies things that they have outgrown. The best thing about this section of the app however, is that this is where you are able to organise ‘Mush-ups’ in your area. It’s a nice, non-formal way of saying ‘Hi, can we be friends?’, it also shows you just how many other mums are in the same position as you are.

The other way to communicate is via your inbox – for messages between you and those you connect with via the app, which is great if you find a mum nearby who you really hit it off with!

I’ve so far made one really good friend via Mush who lives 5 minutes away, has a little girl who is two weeks younger than Hallie and has recently joined the same mother and baby group that we have attended since Hallie was 5 weeks old (more on that in another blog). Meeting my Mush Mum friend has shown me that this boat may feel lonely at times, but that there is definitely always someone else holding another oar in the same boat.

I think one of the things that people forget to tell you throughout pregnancy is just how important it is to have other mum friends who live nearby, I wish I’d had the heads up as to just how isolating motherhood is and had known about Mush sooner. So here’s your rally cry – download Mush here or in the app store/Google play and make motherhood that little bit more lovely.


NOTE: This is not a paid ad in any way, shape or form. Mush is an app that advocates for all of the things that I do, and it’s something that I feel other mums and mums to be need to know about. I’ve even praised it to my health visitor and she has also started recommending it to other mums. 

Have Courage and Be Kind

My darling girl,

This week you’re going to turn four months old, and I’m already dumbfounded by where the time has gone.

Gone are the days of 3oz bottles and our Teen Mom 2 marathons at 1AM during a night feed, and gone are the days of your newborn cry. Instead that baby who was once so dependant has been replaced by a fiery, funny independent little girl with the best personality.

A little girl who wants so desperately to be able to sit up, to show anyone and everyone her feet that she’s recently discovered, to spend her life under her play gym instead of in your arms and loves nothing more than a raspberry being blown on her tummy.

The newborn cry has been replaced with new sounds depending on how you’re feeling. You have different cries for different needs, you have an angry shout and a beautiful giggle to match your beautiful smile.

The past four months have been a whirlwind and I’m left thinking “did I enjoy them enough?”, “Should we have cuddled more?”, “Should you want to be so independent already?” and the ever-present “am I doing it* correctly?”. *it being motherhood

We’re four months in to your precious life and that has had me thinking about all the wonderful things that lay before us. Your first steps, your first words, your first birthday… all of your firsts. Will time ever slow down or will I be left feeling exactly the same as I do now when I sit in your empty bedroom when you move out? Will I remember those night feeds as I do up your wedding dress? Will I always see the little fiery girl who lays beside me now?

Parents have numerous hopes for their children. Hopes of great educations and successful jobs. Hopes of love and friendships. Hopes of travel and adventure.

For you, Hallie, I hope two things. I hope that throughout your life you will always have courage and always be kind. If you’re able to do these two things, then the rest will come.

I wish for you to have the courage to pursue your dreams – whatever they may be, and that you have the ability to ignore those who doubt them. I hope you have the courage to take your life in the direction you wish, to share it with those you love and admire, and to enjoy every single moment of it. Have the courage to stand up for yourself against bullies, whatever guise they enter your life under. Have the courage to tell people no – unless it’s when you’re a toddler and the thing asked of you is to put on your shoes. In that case please just put on your shoes

Have the courage to live life to the fullest, and know that you will forever be loved unconditionally.

Be kind to everyone you meet, for you never know what someone is going through. Be kind to those who are unkind, as those are the ones who need kindness most. Be kind to your parents – old age doesn’t come itself, and again, those night feeds brought some wrinkles along with those precious memories. Be kind to your friends, they will love you regardless of the decisions you make.

Most importantly though, my darling girl, be kind to yourself. Know that you are valued, loved and adored. Know that you have changed lives in these short four months. Know that you deserve happiness and adventure. Know that you will make mistakes, but that everyone has and continues to do so too. Know that everyone who looks like they have it all together, could just be really great actors.

Take time to have a bath, take time to read, to watch that trashy TV show. Take time for you, make time for you and always, always, remember that your dad and I will be cheering you on. Always.

We got this, Stinker.

Three is the magic number.


Baby Blues

Postnatal depression. 

Two words that strike the fear into every single pregnant woman and their families. The fear that you’re going to spend nine months being excited to bring this little bundle of joy into the world, just to not be able to bond with it and be the star of your very own soap opera storyline.

Because that’s what postnatal depression is, isn’t it? It’s being unable to bond with your baby, it’s resenting your baby for being the reason you’ve given up your old life and it’s your life turning into some huge melodrama.

Or, maybe it isn’t. Maybe it manifests itself as a type of depression that nobody warns you about. Maybe it takes you by surprise, somehow making it worse. Making it even harder to open up about.

Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby. It’s a common problem, affecting more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth


Postnatal depression seems to go hand in hand with prenatal chats with our health professionals, it’s mentioned between friends who have maybe suffered themselves, it’s talked about with our partners and it’s described by our national health service as a common problem, but yet it is still easily one of the most stigmatised and taboo mental health discussion topics.

I have suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember, I’ve spoke with medical professionals about my mental health since I was 13 years of age. I’ve always been open about my own struggles with anxiety and depression. I’ll be the first to let someone know that they’re not suffering alone. I’ll be the first to share coping techniques with anyone. I’ll be the first to preach about just how important it is to talk about our mental health and raise awareness in order to reduce stigma.

But here I am. Skirting around saying the words, skirting around admitting it to my loved ones, skirting around mentioning it on a website that I have literally documented my mental health struggles on. Here I am, scared to say the following:

I have postnatal depression.

I have postnatal depression, but I don’t hate my baby. I don’t have a damaged bond with my baby. I don’t resent my baby for changing my life, as much as I sometimes miss that old life when I’m knee deep in laundry and dirty nappies.

In fact, I have a pretty great bond with my baby. We’ve attended a mother and baby group since she was 5 weeks old which has helped us bond by using techniques such as baby yoga and massage. We loved skin to skin when she was tiny. I sing to her at any given chance. I love nothing more than reading to her. I can be having the worst day and she’ll flash me a gummy grin and suddenly I’m Wonder Woman. Sometimes, even three months on, I’ll still just lie and stare at her and wonder how on earth we ever got so lucky.

What I didn’t expect was just how isolating motherhood could be, along with how how scary it would be. It’s the never ending feeling of being judged for not doing it ‘correctly’, whether that judgement is presented by someone else or by my own head.

Am I feeding her enough? Am I engaging her enough for her to develop at the ‘correct’ rate? Am I too quick to settle her when she’s upset – should I be practising controlled crying? Should I be cuddling her more? Or less? Should she be in a routine or should I let her decide when she’s ready for bed? Should I force bath time even when she’s not a fan of it, or should I persevere for her to get used to it? Is she too warm, is she too cold? Should we be out more or in more?

And the biggy: is she still breathing? Ever since those early hours in the delivery suite this has been the never ending fear. The fear of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Whether she’s lying on the sofa having a nap, down in her Moses basket for the night, in her car seat asleep in the car (just her travelling in a car gives me the fear, to be fair), quiet and settled in her pram or I can’t hear her babbling away from the other room while I try and battle the never ending mountain of housework – the one fear remains. The fear that one day I’m going to go check if she is breathing, and she won’t be.

I don’t know where the fear has came from, maybe it’s from being warned so much of the danger of SIDS and being told of all the preventative precautions that we should take. Maybe it’s because her heart dipped before she entered the world and I had the very real fear that we may lose her before we met her. Maybe it’s just my anxiety and I should just get over it. (Because mental health is that simple, isn’t it?)

Right now, my head is the messiest it’s been in a while, but the positive thing is that I’ve been aware of the change and since I started dipping have been taking as much care of it as possible and talking to the right people about it. I’ve reached out to friends, I’ve not hidden it from my husband, and I’ve spoken to medical professionals about the treatment routes that are available. Most importantly, though, I have admitted it to myself. I still struggle to let that wall down with a lot of people, but that’s something I’m working on. I guess the fear is that people have one view of PND, and that is the view that you may not be fit to provide the correct level of care for your baby, and as a new mother I can’t describe to you just how heartbreaking that thought is.

Along with my anxiety and depression rearing their heads, my once ‘a bit funny with raw meat and germs’ thing has become fully fledged OCD. My hands are red raw with cracked knuckles and dry hacks from washing them so much. Since Hallie has been born I’ve cooked around two meals that have involved touching raw meat, and both times have scolded myself washing my hands. I’ve noticed myself washing my hands around eight times in a row simply tidying the kitchen because I’ve put something in the bin.

If it’s not washing my hands, it’s constantly having them covered in anti-bacterial hand gel. I have a huge bottle that lives in my living room, a little bottle that lives in my handbag/jacket pocket, one that lives by the side of my bed, one that lives in the parent tray of my buggy and one that lives in the car. When Hallie discovered the ability to put her hands in her mouth I found myself freaking out when she touched my face or hands in fear of her taking germs from them into her mouth and so would wipe her hands clean with baby wipes. I’ve had two coldsores since Hallie was born and I think that’s where the majority of the damage on my hands has came from as I don’t think I went more than twenty minutes without dowsing my hands in hand gel after all of the horrific stories of babies catching coldsores on Facebook.

Right now, it’s as if Depression is a mountain that I’m climbing and I’m halfway up. No point in going back down, as there’s an equal distance to the top, but the top seems forever away and I simply can’t be bothered getting there, but Anxiety is at the top of the mountain dangling my baby over the edge and there’s OCD whispering in my ear that I better wash my hands in water as hot as lava before I can touch that baby because just think of all the germs on them from climbing this mountain.

I guess it just feels never ending, like I can never catch a break. I have a tribe of people begging to take Hallie for a few hours or overnight so that we can catch a break from her, but the truth is that I don’t need a break from her, I need a break from my head and if anything, my head is just worse when I’m not with her because I’m worried that she’s unsettled, or that she’s confused as to why her mummy has abandoned her, or whoever she’s with isn’t following the precaution guidelines put in place for SIDS and I’m going to get a call telling me that something’s wrong.

It’s like a never ending pressure. A pressure to be a good Mum, wife, daughter, sister, Auntie, friend, daughter in-law etc etc. It’s the self doubt, the fear of judgement and feeling like me taking time to get used to being a mum is unfair on other people, including Hallie and Andrew. The feeling that I’m being rushed into this adjustment and the pressure that I’m not adjusting correctly.

I don’t know what I hope to achieve with this post – maybe it’s an explanation to those people who aren’t sure where Chrisselle has gone since Hallie arrived, maybe it’s an explanation for those who think I’m trying to keep her all to myself, maybe it’s speaking about my own experience so that if there’s anyone else feeling the same as I do, they don’t feel so isolated, or maybe, it’s just a chance for me to get some quiet in my head, to make some room for the words of Three Little Pigs that have engrained themselves into my brain.

2017 brought with it a lot of fantastic moments in my life, but it also brought a whole lot of change, and maybe my head is just taking some time to catch up. I’m doing everything I can to make myself a better version of me. Not just for me though, for my loved ones, and mainly for Hallie and Andrew.

I might be halfway up the mountain, but one day I’ll be at the top and that’s the main thing.

Love x