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 marry conventional & alternative approaches to support women. 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! I was fed up with the role of Social Worker & I wanted work to be something I really enjoyed.
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 & boom it was 2008 & I qualified - YES, AS A SOCIAL WORKER!
It's over 10 years since & I have had my son, Ruairí. We are now a family of four, including husband Faolán & 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 antenatal anxiety & depression.
A traumatic birth & a baptism of fire into parenthood followed, when Ruairi took severe reflux & dairy intolerance, with many hospital stays & no sleep, we were a very worn out new family. I felt robbed of those early moments of motherhood, of being able to breast feed, of going to baby groups- instead I had a baby who cried all day & night & we couldn't leave the house. That was until we finally had a food & medication breakthrough at 4 months old!
Then all of a sudden Ruairí started smiling & around 6 months old I stared to 'feel' again. I received counselling & I recovered. My CBT therapist also used mindfulness tools & again I was reminded of the need for an 'outside of the box' approach to self care. I realised at that point, that I wanted to do more - more to support women & families affected by perinatal mental health and/or birth trauma.
When I look back on my struggles with mood, becoming a Mother, breastfeeding, there was always that feeling of being isolated. I didn't meet meet the criteria for BF groups because my journey was 'unsuccessful' & I didn't live in the right postcode to avail of parent/baby services.I never want another woman to feel that isolation. It was a dream of mine to create a safe space for women to talk candidly about real life & not just the fluffy parts saved for Instagram or Facebook. (we all do it lol) Now there is a tribe of women, of all ages, all backgrounds, different careers & family makeups, women who breastfeed or bottle feed, sling wear or buggy push. But to put it bluntly, Centred Soul is a space where non of this bloody matters! You come as you are.
The support system in Northern Ireland, for women & families, who go through what I have described, is minimal! In fact, NI only has one perinatal team in the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust & if you fall outside of that area, there is very little else. Thankfully new support networks, created by women who have experienced perinatal mental health are emerging, but there were no supports in the Newry & Mourne area, or Southern Health & Social Care Trust.Centred Soul has changed this.
What we do is different. We offer an intentional, social space for women to gather...parent & non-parents alike. We offer a shed load of services, from Baby Massage classes, to Meditation, Drum circles or Yin Yoga. Not to mention we have a coffee dock too! (important!) All forms of self care are available here & let's be honest, caffeine is one of those!Centred Soul has journeyed with me. I started this space as a way to find a tribe of Mother's who felt like me. As the years have gone by & my son gets older, I am rediscovering myself outside of the role of 'Mother' & I believe it is important that a space exists for ALL women, not solely Mothers. We all have different life paths, some of us want to be Mothers, some of us do not, some of us experience pregnancy barriers & some of us do not. The world has changed & women have too. Centred Soul is for ALL, no tick boxes, no categories, no pigeon holes.
Centred Soul started as an idea & it has developed into a beautiful community of women, who supported me through tough times & now this continues for others. This isn't a space where you'll find us holding hands & singing kum-by-ya, but you'll find down-to-earth people, plenty of laughs, tears, expletives & I guarantee that genuine friendships are made. So, whether you come along to a monthly BTAPS (Birth Trauma & Perinatal Support) Meetup or call in for a cup of coffee, this space is for you.
Centred Soul is now my full time job & one which I 100% love. I literally get to have the craic everyday, with people I love.I remain a registered Social Worker, with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council & am fully insured through Balens LTD insurers for all therapies & services. I am very lucky to have a fab CS team alongside me too. What we do is fun, relaxed & informal. Pair that with a huge dose of craic & you have Centred Soul!
Welcome, welcome, welcome...