Charlene's Journey with Breathe Melodies for Mums - Breathe

Charlene’s Journey with Breathe Melodies for Mums

Tue 18 Jun

In the grand symphony of motherhood, every note can shape the melody of a new baby’s life. Charlene's story, a mother navigating her third postpartum experience, is a harmonious blend of joy, challenges, and unexpected connection.

Charlene, a compassionate Community Psychiatric Nurse, found herself in uncharted waters during her third pregnancy. With two children already — a teenager about to turn sixteen and a lively almost-four-year-old — Charlene felt somewhat prepared. But pregnancy can surprise you, and at 28 weeks things became quite worrying. Charlene’s baby had a high heart rate and coupled with her chronic hypertension, these challenges amplified her stress and anxiety. Along with balancing the needs of her family, managing household chores, and daily routines, Charlene felt overwhelmed, isolated, and drained.

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Charlene’s postpartum period was a whirlwind. Her partner was away when she welcomed their new baby girl into the world, leaving Charlene to navigate those early days solo. Life post-birth was a blur; Charlene moved from task to task without pausing to absorb the monumental change she had just experienced. “I don’t think I actually stopped to have a moment to myself, I was just, rushing around. But then when I did take the moment to sit down and reflect, I was like, ‘I am exhausted. I am tired. I am drained.’”

It wasn’t until she stumbled upon Tim (Breathe Melodies for Mum’s Engagement & Support Officer) at a local children’s centre, and he introduced her to Breathe Melodies for Mums, that things began to shift. Initially, Charlene misinterpreted the purpose of the programme, imagining it to be similar to a typical baby rhyme-time session. But something about Tim’s warm approach and the idea of a new activity with her baby interested her, and she decided to join the programme. The experience turned out to be profoundly more enriching and multifaceted than Charlene anticipated.

“At first, I was nervous. I even told my partner, ‘I don’t know if I should go because I don’t want to, like, put anyone to shame with my powerful voice.’ But he reassured me, and honestly, I’m so, so glad I did,” she recounts with a laugh.

Having this hour in my week, felt very important to attend, it was making such a difference in how I felt about myself. I stopped rushing about trying to fill my time. The space was great. It gave me a moment to sit with my feelings, which actually helped.

What stood out to Charlene was the sheer simplicity and profound impact of the programme. She realised it wasn’t just about singing; it was a space for new mothers to connect, reflect, and support each other. Charlene discovered that singing with other mothers created a powerful, shared vulnerability that forged deep connections. Songs that echoed themes of motherhood, love, and resilience resonated deeply with her.

As the weeks went on, I think it just empowered me, it gave the safe space to come and feel like, I don't actually have to deal with my problems in this room right now. I can just be here. There's a lot of times we've been singing, and because of the setting, when you look out of the window, there were, trees and birds. And on one occasion we were singing a song, and these birds came towards the window, it made me feel like, oh, mother nature, mother earth, everything's beautiful, it's all going to be fine. I'd leave the session feeling I'd started the week in the right way.

The sessions made a lasting impact on Charlene and her family. She found herself more confident and less pressured to fill every moment with activity. Singing became an integral part of her interaction with her baby daughter, who responded instantly to the familiar tunes, offering moments of calm during otherwise hectic days. Singing even became a soothing strategy during nappy changes and bus journeys, much to the amusement of onlookers.

Sometimes after a session, I'd be like, ‘Oh, gosh, that song really hit me.’ Week on week, I felt more confident about singing the songs, which somehow tied into confidence with my motherhood. I'm happy to stay home and play if that's what we need to do that day. Rather than feeling like I need to fill every waking hour and run myself into the ground. I use the songs with my baby, it creates a bit of a pause, a moment and the songs provoke emotions in me.

The weekly sessions became a sanctuary — one that refreshed her social batteries and equipped her with moments for reflection, new friendships and invaluable emotional tools.

“I think it saw me through a really pivotal point in motherhood. I’m going to try and hold on to that feeling of extra confidence it gave me to go out into the world and be a mum. And especially after having that vulnerability with a room of strangers where I’m singing to my heart’s content, I want to bottle up that feeling”.

“No matter where you are as a mother, what part of your journey you’re on, there’s always room. If I have another baby, know that I’ll be back. I don’t intend to let this go. I’ll be back. I’ll be like one of the elders. See the new generation coming in. You know because it was so good.”

If you would like to learn more about Breathe Melodies for Mums, head over to the programme page here.