In many ways I enjoyed being a new mum more than I expected – I fell so in love with my son, and I was pretty well-supported from the start. But I do have a history of depression, and I’d miscarried my first pregnancy. In those exhausting and relentless early months, it was easy for my mind to start travelling old pathways of anxiety, self-criticism, and sadness.
I knew getting out and about with the baby would be important, once my husband was back at work, but lots of groups just felt like they weren’t for me: too prescriptive, or maybe just too aggressively cheerful, all bright colours and baby talk. I stumbled across Breathe Melodies for Mums online, and I liked the idea of something that was designed around the mothers and open about how hard it can feel.
I hadn’t done any singing in a group since primary school, probably, and before the first session I was worried I’d feel self-conscious or not be as good as the other mums. But it was instantly clear that this was an accepting space defined not by competition but collaboration. We made some beautiful music, but even if we’d sounded like a pack of alley cats, it would have been fine – the point was just doing it together.
My son loved being present at each session, and I continue to sing many of the songs we learned to him. But the biggest benefit was for me. It was the highlight of my week, warming up, singing, and then going home with a peaceful mind and a tuneful heart. The rest of the week would still contain its struggles, but I knew that hour on a Thursday morning would be really joyful, so on hard days I had something to look forward to. It also really increased my musical confidence, and I think singing will continue to be a big part of our family life.
I’d definitely encourage any new mothers considering it to get involved. It’s a really special and nourishing experience to sing in a group, and the team have created a safe space where it’s okay to be struggling, but it’s also okay to forget that struggle for a moment, in song.
New Breathe Melodies for Mums programmes are starting from 9th May in South London. To find out more including dates, times and how to sign up, please click here