Guest Blog Post - Sarah Bones —

It’s hard being a mum, and it’s even harder when you’re also dealing with depression. But it’s a battle many of us are fighting every day, including me. I can’t even remember when I was first diagnosed with depression, it’s been so long. But when I became a mum for the first time at the age of 28, seven years ago now, the fight got that much harder because I was no longer doing it just for myself; I was also doing it for my beautiful son, Dylan.

Banning junk food adverts online misses the point - it won't help obese people like me

The advertising industry is in turmoil after the Government unveiled plans to completely ban online junk food advertising, but they’re not the only ones in dismay. This might seem like another valiant attempt to curb our nation’s ever-growing obesity epidemic, but this new campaign, like many before it, does nothing to address the mental health issues behind the crisis. It’s a noble effort of course, made all the more pertinent due to links between obesity and an increased risk of Covid-19 complications, but the failure to address the real reasons a lot of people eat such foods makes the Government’s efforts somewhat redundant.

New 95% Mortgages Won't Help

At the annual Conservative party conference in early October, Boris Johnson announced proposals to reintroduce 95% mortgages for first-time buyers. At first glance, this appears a valiant effort to help young people get on the property ladder. But the reality is that, even if this does come to fruition, buying your first home will still be fraught with difficulty due to systemic problems in both the housing market and society in general.

Our bottle-fed babies are swallowing plastic: one more thing for new mums to feel guilty about

A new study has found that bottle-fed babies are swallowing millions of microplastics per day, far higher than previously thought. The study found that the way in which bottles are sterilised and how formula is prepared contributes to the shedding of millions of microplastic particles from the bottle into the milk. The scientists involved in the study are calling for an urgent review of both how bottles are manufactured and instructions for preparing infant formula, as it’s unclear how harmful this might be for babies. Whilst the researchers took pains to emphasise that further study is needed and parents should not be made to feel bad for using plastic bottles, these results will only contribute to the many ways in which society frowns upon bottle-feeding.

I had to redefine my identity after mental illness ended my career

In 2018, at the age of 33, the career I had worked years to establish ended both prematurely and unceremoniously. I quit my well paid job due to stress and poor mental health, and have not worked full-time since. For a long time, I had worked in Higher Education, gradually climbing my way up through the ranks at a local university. During this period, I struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety, but somehow managed to keep it all together. Feelings I had long kept buried were at odds with the pressure of my stressful career, and events were seemingly catalysed by my appointment as the manager of a new academic department.

As the pandemic grows, so does the chasm between celebrity and real life

Before Covid we weren’t blind to the fact that the rich and famous live very different lives to the rest of us, but the pandemic has shone a light on exactly how big the chasm between them and us really is. Singer Lana Del Rey was recently pictured wearing a face mask full of holes at a meet-and-greet event in Los Angeles, prompting an angry backlash from fans. Whilst technically adhering to LA county’s request that residents wear a face covering when interacting with others both in public and in private, her failure to ensure the mask was actually effective shows either an astonishing lack of regard for others’ welfare or an unrivalled level of stupidity, or both.

Just When I Thought It Was Over, Lockdown Saved My Marriage

This March, after 14 years together, it looked like our marriage was over. Just months ago, I was preparing to tell my two young children that their father and I had reached the end of the road. Then, the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown came careering into our lives unexpectedly. Six months later my marriage is stronger than ever, and I believe Covid-19 saved it. If recent headlines pointing to a marked increase in online divorce searches are to be believed, we’re on the brink of a mass post-lockdown separation. Evidently, a lot of us have been simply tolerating our partners until the end of lockdown, and preparing a new life for afterwards which doesn’t include them.

Why I'm dreading the return to the school run this week as an introverted mum

Tomorrow marks the big return to school for millions of children across the UK after the lengthy coronavirus lockdown. Parents are understandably anxious about sending their children back to school, and for introverted people like me, there is the added pressure of returning to social interactions which may have been lacking during the last six months. My anxiety can be debilitating at the best of times, but worries about how my two boys will cope with the changes they’ll face at school and the constant threat of them catching COVID is sending it through the roof. I think a lot of the anxiety centres around not being able to control their environment as much as I’ve been able to recently. I know I’m not alone in my concerns though.