Dr. Ivana Poku is an award-nominated blogger, Mumsjourney, life coach, motivational speaker and author of ‘Motherhood – The Unspoken‘. Ivana is a mum to twin boys and advocate for perinatal mental health, candidly sharing her own experience of PND on her blog and in her book.
Originally from Slovakia, Ivana moved to England at the age of 29 and after acute PND post twins, felt inspired to set up Mumsjourney to help other mums experiencing anxiety and trauma.
Her book ‘Motherhood – The Unspoken’ offers insight into the life of a new mum, informing and supporting parents on the realities of pregnancy, birth and raising babies.
Below I interview inspirational Ivana.
Describe a typical day for you?
I start the day with morning cuddles in bed with my husband and our boys (it’s my favourite time of the day). On weekdays, I take the twins to nursery in the morning before starting work.
In the afternoon, I break properly however, spending quality time with the kids without distraction. I switch off my phone and computer and stop working so it’s just me and them. I always try and do at least one new thing with the kids each week be it swimming or visiting a new soft play, alongside our usual playdates with friends – meeting up with mates is a must for us. It provides routine, combats lonliness and most importantly, it’s fun!
I spend the evenings with my husband – we either catch up on a boxset or chat over a cup of tea (it’s the simple things that count). We laugh a lot together (unless we argue – but even that often ends with a laugh which is therapeutic and good for the soul). I love ending the day with gratitude – even if only in my head rather than putting pen to paper. Practising thankfulness makes a huge difference to me. It rewires the brain helping me feel more positive. This exercise reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for.
What do you feel are your greatest achievements?
Our amazing boys whom we are so incredibly proud of! My ability to always listen and follow my inner voice rather than let outside pressure/noise in. And, of course my book ‘Motherhood – The Unspoken’ that offers new mothers support. It’s the book I needed after I became a mum and was struggling. No words can explain the feeling I get when I receive a message from a mum saying my book has changed or even saved their life.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
I have no idea :). Honestly, I’m the least organized person I know and my handbag reflects this. I do always try to make sure to have my wallet and phone in there though before I leave the house. Well, most of the time, anyway. 🙂
What are your ambitions in life?
To raise my boys to be confident, respectful, caring and content people who are proud of who they are. Outside of my family unit, it’s paramount I keep to my mission of helping others live full and happy lives. Many people feel stuck and are struggling to work out what they want in life. In my role as a life coach, I always advise those in a rut to ask themselves, ‘What would you want to say to yourself and recall in your last moments on this planet?’ The answer usually offers clarity in what truly matters to them.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
Every fall and so-called ‘failure’ I’ve experienced will in fact be the making of me as those lessons help me learn and improve. Failures are not failures, they’re steep learning curves in which to build strength and resilience. You fall then pick yourself up learning how to improve along the way. It’s easier said than done but I’d advise everyone to embrace failure. Equally, please stop worrying about what others think of you and the external pressures they might place on you. No one is bothered about your life or supposed ‘failures’ so stop stressing.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Living with my wonderful family in a beautiful house in the countryside. I want to continue my work writing books and running courses for parents too of course. I want to work towards breaking the stigma around perinatal mental health, helping women worldwide.
What advice would you give a budding author/ entrepreneur?
When you work from a place of passion, you can achieve anything. As an author/entrepreneur, you are so often bombarded with advice but the most important element to success and happiness is to trust your gut. Our gut is immensely powerful yet we so often ignore or allow other voices to speak over it and cloud our judgement. If you follow your inner voice, success is inevitable.
What advice would you give a first time mother?
Although motherhood can be incredibly hard, if you speak about your struggles, you can access help and recover. You must try to find the strength to talk about how you feel. Ask for help and get out – in no way must you stay isolated at home.
Becoming a mum is a massive change so trust me – whatever you might be feeling now, however hard you’re finding things, it is common and normal and help is available. The first step of speaking up is the hardest so find someone you trust to discuss your problems and please don’t be fearful of your GP.
However scary your current thoughts are – I promise you, that most other mums have experienced them too. Take a deep breath and know that soon enough, you will enjoy motherhood the way you’ve always wanted to.
Finally, happiness is…
… a choice.