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postnatal depression

Going Back to Work Saved Me From Postnatal Depression – Sophie Baron, Founder of Mamamade

By Sophie Baron, Founder of @hellomamamade

I used to say that becoming a mother gave me a fresh boost of confidence. Bringing a completely new life into the world has a way of doing that to you. I’ll never forget that feeling, after giving birth to my daughter, Liba – standing and looking at myself in the hospital mirror and thinking, what the hell did I just do. Me! I did that!

But that elation waned quickly, giving way to an overwhelming sense of dread that I now understand to be postnatal depression: The feeling that anyone else, anyone but me, would do a better job at raising my daughter. I understood why people left babies behind in boxes at fire stations. I was tempted to do the same. I felt it was in her best interest for me not to be her mother. I didn’t want her.

But of course, we carry on. One foot in front of the other. I played the part of the perfect mother, though I felt almost no attachment – holding tight to routines and schedules and 12-hour sleeps as a way to validate that I was the best mother on the planet.

At 6 months I went back to work and stopped breastfeeding, and overnight I felt like myself again. I don’t know which move made the difference, or if it was the two together, but suddenly I felt brighter.

And that confidence was back – only stronger. Because not only had I grown and birthed a human, but I had gotten through a very bad slump – with very little help. I was managing. My daughter was happy and had no clue. And what’s better than that?

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postnatal depression
Photographer credit: Amber Rose Smith

So really, that’s what gave me the confidence to start Mamamade. I knew parents like me deserved more support. Motherhood isn’t glossy, and it’s ok to ask for help. But no one was saying that it was ok.

Until the point of starting a business, I never once considered becoming an entrepreneur. I watched my friends from university get impressive careers in consulting and business and finance – ‘that’s not the world for me,’ I’d say, opting instead for the less-well-paid route of magazines and academia. I could never start my own business, let alone run it.

I allowed myself to feel intimidated by the world of business. I allowed myself to believe that as a woman I didn’t have the skills it required. And when I started, I allowed myself to listen to the people who laughed at what I was doing. Who told me there was no need to innovate on pouches – that for decades, mothers had coped perfectly fine with making their baby’s food.

I was intimidated by running a business, and so I sort of pretended I wasn’t – referring to it as a little project or a side-hustle.

But having a second baby during the pandemic gave me even more of a confidence boost. I asked myself, what am I really afraid of? Why am I holding myself back, when I’ve been through so much? What do I have to lose?

And now I’m giving Mamamade my all – and to people just meeting me, it might be hard to imagine that I’ve not always been this confident. But here’s the reality. Running a business is still somewhat simple: Have a passion for what you do. Know your customer well – do whatever it takes to make them happy. And don’t let anyone make you feel like you aren’t capable – because the only validation you need and you seek should be from your customers or clients.

As mothers, we put ourselves out of our comfort zone on a daily basis. We operate from a place of patience and empathy. We’re problem-solvers and future-proofers, and we’re always wondering how we can improve. We’re managing massive mental loads, juggling childcare arrangements and meals and grocery deliveries. And no matter how quickly our children grow, they’re always clothed. So basically, remind yourself that you’ve already got the hardest job in the world – the rest is just the cherry on top.

postnatal depression

About Sophie:

Sophie Baron is the Founder of UK-based parent/baby digital start-up Mamamade; a fast-growing direct-to-consumer business supporting parents with modern childcare products and services that improve health outcomes, normalise taboos and increase happiness. Originally from New York, Sophie ventured to the UK to undertake a PhD before becoming Head of Operations at a fast-track tech company. In 2017, she gave birth to her first daughter and after six months, began to juggle the return to work with caring for her baby. By 2019 Mamamade had progressed beyond being a ‘side-hustle’ and is now the fastest-growing baby food subscription company in the UK.

postnatal depression

About Mamamade: 

Parenting is easy. Said nobody ever. They say it takes a village to raise a child. But in a world where people don’t know their neighbours’ names, we need to build a new village for tangible as well as emotional support.

Started from our founder Sophie’s kitchen, Mamamade is now a fast-growing direct-to-consumer business delivering everything parents need to conveniently make delicious, nutritious meals for their little ones between the ages of 6 months and 4 years. The brand offers 45 plant-based meals across four product ranges, all designed to empower parents to see every ingredient and introduce new, original flavour combinations to their children’s palates.

The meals are available to order directly via the website, with the option of purchasing pre-made bundles on a one-off or subscription basis, with an additional option to curate individual meal plans that best suit your little one’s preferences.

Use our Mamamade discount code – BETH10 – for £10 off!

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