I'm Rosemary Deans, the slightly colourful looking founder of Centred Soul, which is a Profit With Purpose Social Enterprise, in Newry, Northern Ireland.
But before we start, let's get the official stuff out of the way!
Centred Soul is the brain child of a Social Worker (me) who wanted to use 'alternative ways' to support women, children and families! Centred Soul started in 2011- back then it was just me, as a Complementary Therapist, taking on the feet of the world, one Reflexology treatment at a time lol! I was fed up with the role of Social Worker and I wanted work to be more relaxed, more fun!
I grew up in a household full of children, as we were a foster family and I vowed NEVER to become a Social Worker! Roll on a few years, after getting bullied in school, I left school, experienced depression, returned to school, got my exams, continued to have on/off depression into my 20's and boom it was 2008 and I qualified - YES, AS A SOCIAL WORKER.
I kicked the ass of depression quite well and I have since worked within children's services and within the adult learning disability and mental health field. It's over 10 years since I qualified and I have had my first child, Ruairí. We are now a family of four, including Molly the dog!
Pregnancy was not easy...I was very detached and numb to becoming a Mother. It scared the life out of me, so I ignored it & my mood went up & down like a yo yo. I didn't realise at the time, but this was most likely antenatal mood swings/depression.
Unfortunately, this was followed with a traumatic birth and a baptism of fire into parenthood, when Ruairi took severe reflux and dairy intolerance. This meant many hospital stays, no sleep and a very worn out new family. I felt robbed of the lovely early moments of motherhood, of being able to breast feed, of going to baby groups- instead I had a baby who cried all day and night, we couldn't leave the house- until we finally had a food and medication breakthrough at 4 months old!
Then all of a sudden Ruairí started smiling and around 6 months old I stared to 'feel' again. I realised at that point that I wanted to do more - more to support women & families with new babies, especially those who have experienced or are experiencing peri-natal mental health issues and/or birth trauma.
Northern Ireland is extremely underfunded when it comes to mental health. The support system for women and families who go through any of what I have described, is minimal! In fact, NI only has one peri-natal team in the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust and if you fall outside of that area, there is very little else. Thankfully new support networks, created by women who have experienced peri-natal mental health issues are starting to emerge, but there are limited supports in the Newry & Mourne area, or Southern Health & Social Care Trust. I want to change this.
I continue to run parent & child classes but these classes are different. We focus as much on YOU as a parent, as we do on baby. Yes you will learn massage, yes you with learn yoga but our classes are also a safe space for new mums & dads to talk about the realities of being a parent and not being afraid to say out loud that parenting can be bloody hard or that you are having a shitty day!
Centred Soul host a 'Moaning Mummies' meetup once a month, in Newry, as well as BTAPS (Birth Trauma and Perinatal Support) Meetups, once per month. Moaning Mummies started in June 2017, at a time where I was fed up with feeling isolated because I didn't meet criteria to attend a local breast feeding group or a sling wearing meet.
I breastfed for as long as I could and I still am a sling wearer, and I think these groups are amazing but, I also know that when you cannot breastfeed for whatever reason, or you can't get out of the house because you have a baby who cries all day, that you feel ostracised because you no longer meet the criteria to join such groups. For me this resulted in one isolated mama! At the time, all I wanted was to meet other mums who talked about real life & not just the fluffy parts of parenting saved for Instagram or Facebook. (we all do it lol) I wanted to meet other mums who liked to have a moan and enjoyed a glass of wine or three! I wanted a support network, where it was okay to breast feed or bottle feed, sling wear or buggy push- where it didn't matter which you chose! lol! So Moaning Mummies was born!
This group was and still is a support for me and I hope it is a support network for all the women who come along too- who just fancy a natter and a cup of tea, no questions asked! BTAPS was born again out of a passion to support families in getting the help they need to cope with Birth Trauma and Perinatal Mental Health, to prevent others feeling as isolated as I did. In November 2017, we held a raising awareness event. The response was amazing and it was clear we needed something in our area to fill this gap in support!
At that event, was Sarah Jane McCann, a Birth Trauma survivor. She has now joined forces with Centred Soul, to co facilitate the BTAPS meetups and we are going from strength to strength.
Centred Soul is not just for women, it's for family-whatever shape or size! Centred Soul is a gentle reminder to self care, as it is so easy to get caught up in the chaos of family life! I believe if we can keep ourselves well, then everything else seems that little bit brighter! When we feel good, the world around us looks better and it is then, that we are in the best place to show our children how they can feel good too!
Centred Soul is going strong. We are now working in the community, for the community. I remain registered with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council and am fully insured through Balens LTD insurers for all therapies & services. What we do is fun, relaxed and informal but based on skills and knowledge that have been tried and tested in working with families for many years! Pair that with a huge dose of craic and you have Centred Soul!
Welcome, welcome, welcome...
(All classes and courses are accredited by the Royal College of Midwives and approved by the International Institute for Complementary Therapists)