An Honest Conversation with: Rachael Newham
Rachael and I connected with each another on social media last year and then met for a coffee at New Wine. She is an author and mum and she is beautifully and vulnerably honest about mental health (and everything else). Have a read of our chat and then do go follow/connect with her. She is wonderful.
What does your week look like/what do you do?
No week ever looks the same for me; it’s a slightly muddled mixture of being a stay at home Mum, author/speaker and running christian mental health charity ThinkTwice, which I set up almost a decade ago! The fixed points in my week are the morning a week I get to write when my son is with his godmother and baby groups on Thursdays and Fridays which have been sanity-saving in this first year of parenthood.
What thing do you love most about parenthood?
Seeing the way my son changes every day, watching the wonder he finds in the ordinary.
What thing do you find hardest about parenthood?
The relentlessness. I’ve worked freelance for the past five years and to all of a sudden be completely beholden to a small person has been difficult. I’d learnt a way of living which enabled me to keep my mental health stable and having a baby completely turned that on its head!
What does faith mean to you?
My faith in God is at the heart of everything I do. It’s the reason I do the work I do, informs how I behave (most of the time)! At times, it’s been the thing that kept me getting through each night.
What are you most passionate about?
Changing the way we think, speak and care about mental health issues and that hope can be found in the midst of mental illness because whatever we go through God is with us.
What’s your biggest fear?
Losing my life to mental illness again and not being able to be the Mum and wife my family deserve.
What do you love to talk about most?
My son – I’m biased but I think he’s hilarious.
What is one of the most useful things you’ve learned in adulthood that you wish you knew before?
Everyone is winging it, making it up as they go along and we don’t need to ‘have it all together’ to have a good life.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
Apart from my family, it’s redemption. For so many years I lived in the deepest darkness of mental illness, unable to do much but get through each second and it still takes my breath away that God took the despair and uses it to bring hope and change.
What is your most treasured memory?
My graduation, it was a beautiful day and it represents the incredible three years which changed me beyond recognition, where I experienced healing and community and friendship like never before. It was a where a new chapter of my life began which has been better than I could ever have imagined.
What are the most amazing things you’ve achieved in the last year?
Having a baby and having a book!
Her book, Learning to Breathe: My Journey With Mental Illness, is available here.