Name: Sian Grey
Hometown: Risca, South Wales
“Given my own experiences during pregnancy, I want to try and raise awareness of perinatal mental health. This term includes mental health during pregnancy, as all too often people only really seem to talk about post-natal depression. I want to show people that it is normal and acceptable to feel those feelings and to show other people, who may have had (or may be having) similar experiences, they are not alone.
“I have always described myself as a ‘glass half full’ type of person. However, after having Nerys, [my first daughter], things seemed to change. I had gone from working 50+ hours a week, in a very outgoing and sociable job as a staff nurse in my local hospital, to being at home with just my dog and newborn baby for company. Having experienced such a dramatic change in lifestyle, I do feel that I was on the borderline of post-natal depression and often found myself on the edge of tipping over.
“Running helped to give me a release during this period in my life and, when I started running after giving birth, it felt like I was alive again – I was doing something for me and I could run any negative thoughts out of my mind.
“Being part of this whole experience will also be a very big step in helping me with my own recovery post-pregnancy. Apart from my husband and midwife, I have not spoken to anyone about my personal battles with mental health.
“During pregnancy, I gained 3st in weight, but couldn’t afford any expensive gym memberships to try and get back into shape when I was on maternity leave. I therefore started running. In the following 18 months, I lost over 30lbs and, while I really enjoyed running, I could never run further than five miles and I did not have the confidence to enter any races. However, my husband (who had discovered a love for triathlon the year before) pushed my competitive edge by signing me up (unknown to me) to participate in the sprint distance race at the Cardiff Triathlon in June 2016. I really embraced being involved in a race environment…[and] completing this challenge gave me an incredible buzz, and also a real sense of achievement.
“Inspired to try something out of my comfort zone, I signed myself up for the Cardiff Half Marathon, at which point Cati would be six months old. At first, I wondered what I had let myself in for, as the initial struggles of getting back into running after so long out came back. However, I was really enjoying the buzz that running was giving me again and, slowly but surely, my mileage increased. When I managed to complete my first official 10K race in Cardiff in early September 2017, I felt on top of the world and I had that buzz and edge back again.
“[At the the time of writing] I am now gearing up for the Cardiff Half this coming Sunday, alongside both my husband and brother, and training has gone really well. I have recently managed an impromptu training run over the half marathon distance at two hours flat (which has astonished me and is something that I am really proud of on my Strava feed!).
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