By Anna Ceesay
Rewind to 2017. A sofa in a living room in South London. A woman, who, seven months previously, had a mental health crisis during her second pregnancy. She has just put her six month old son and four year old daughter to bed and is now sitting on her sofa, with her husband. She turns to him and says, “I think I want to launch a magazine about parents’ mental health”. He replies, “great idea!”. And so, the seed for Motherdom was born.
For those of you who know my story, this will all be familiar. You will know that I reached out for help (not an easy thing to do, but definitely the best decision I ever made), received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) through the NHS, and recovered. You will also know that when I was feeling better, I wanted to use my skills as a journalist to help other women who might be in the same position I had been in.
Since then, Motherdom has reached thousands of women around the world with our unique combination of parenting and mental health stories. We published four editions of our print magazine in 2019, which were stocked in selected WHSmith stores and have been immortalised in the British Library. In 2020, we converted the business to a Community Interest Company (a form of social enterprise) and were successful in raising our first round of investment from the social investor Resonance, as well as securing funding from The Reach Fund. We have moved into online publishing and earlier this year launched a new website which has become our primary content hub. We have been featured by BBC News, Forbes and The Telegraph, among others. During these last four years, I have worked with over 100 contributors, as well as our incredible creative team, Editorial Board and governance members. There has, throughout that time, been a real appetite to tell stories about parenting and mental health on our platform. This is more than I could have dreamt of when the idea fell into my head, while I was sitting on the sofa.
Fast forward to 2021. What you may not know is that I am now leaving Motherdom. I feel that it’s the right time to move on, and to give the business room to start a new chapter. My family and I are embarking on some exciting projects of our own, which I want to fully immerse myself in. While I do, of course, have very mixed feelings about departing from something that I founded, I am delighted that I am leaving Motherdom in very safe hands. Nikki Peterson will be taking over from me at the end of July, and I am honoured that she is going to lead Motherdom into this new era.
Nikki is our Brand and Partnerships Consultant and also the former Commercial Director at Psychologies Magazine. I am extremely excited that someone of Nikki’s calibre is going to be taking the reins, as she is an experienced businesswoman with a razor sharp commercial instinct too. On top of that, she is very passionate about maternal mental health and has her own personal story of experiencing baby loss and premature birth. She’s now pregnant with her fourth child.
I’d like to thank you all for your support, belief and encouragement over the past four years. Words cannot do it justice. It’s been an honour to share my story with you, and to create a platform for others to do the same.
Sending much love,