AN Edinburgh mum who struggled after the birth of her second child with postnatal depression has launched a parenting podcast in a bid to help other mothers.
Vanessa Kanbi, 26, a YouTube vlogger and former model, started the Magnificant Mothers podcast last August after feeling like she “had been totally alone” after daughter Mya was born in October 2017.
She said: “Shortly after the birth of Mya, I had postnatal depression and severe anxiety to the point where I couldn’t drive for a year. I couldn’t really be on my own so I couldn’t go out to shops. It felt like I was walking on a boat.”
When Vanessa, who is also mum to Oscar, five, went to the doctor with her concerns, she was dismissed as having low iron and told that she was tired because she was a new mum.
She said: “That wasn’t helpful so I thought I’d just have to try and keep going.”
Discovering the symptoms of anxiety on one website while looking for help, Vanessa recognised almost all of them.
She said: “I thought, I can’t go on like this, I literally thought I was going crazy.”
Unable to take her children out on her own for fear of fainting, Vanessa started having cognitive behavioural therapy which gave her tools to help her manage her moods.
Launching the podcast helped Vanessa, who uses regular reiki and meditation to stay centred, realise that she was not alone.
She said: “I heard time and time again that anxiety, which is so common, was not being diagnosed.”
Vanessa moved back to Edinburgh when Oscar was two after falling for husband Shaun, a childhood friend who she reconnected with online.
As a young mum she had few friends with children in her hometown. She said: “I felt so alone. None of my school friends had children yet. I wanted to meet other mums and hear their stories because people don’t really speak.
“If you speak, especially at the school gates, the conversation is very surface.”
The conversations with the women she interviews on her podcast are the very opposite.
Single parenthood, tackling ignorance around disability, homelessness with children, workplace bullying and world travel with wee ones are just some of the topics discussed.
Vanessa moved to London when she was 18 after being scouted in a Stirling shopping centre at 12 years old. Going from working and studying to becoming a full-time mum of two was difficult .
She said: “When I was in London I was living my life at the same time as being a mum. I had my own things going on whereas when I moved to Edinburgh I wasn’t doing anything else.
“It got to the point where I wondered what I would talk to anyone about because all I was doing was spending time with my children and I felt I didn’t have anything to bring to the table – that added to the circle of anxiety.”
Doing the podcast has been liberating for Vanessa, who has been inspired by all of her guests.
She said: “Every single person I meet I can relate to in some way. Other people’s experience really helps and I know it helps a lot of other mums who have reached out to me after listening.
“I wanted to do something I’m in control of and that’s positive.”