Give your life wings

Mum, blogger, HR professional and sufferer of postpartum mental illness, HANNAH HARDY-JONES created The Kite Program, a personal development app for women challenged by the pressures of mum life: from sleep to stress management, to relationships to mum guilt. There’s even an ‘on the go’ mindfulness button.

“How hard can it really be?”

“We are so organised, it will be fine.”

“I am used to juggling a stressful job – motherhood will be so much easier.”

And the ultimate naivety:

“I studied psychology – I feel like I understand mental illness and that’s just not me.”

But that is exactly what happened to me after my baby was born; just as it affects one in five women. No amount of organisation or university study would have been enough to prepare us as a family for the challenges we faced because of my mental health, postpartum. It took over a year before I started feeling like the old me again. And it took a huge toll on both me and my family.

Just like so many women who struggle with their mental health after having a baby, I battled with low confidence for a long time. I felt like I was never going to be able to return to work and perform at the level I once had. Until it occurred to me that maybe I could make a difference and use my experience to bring about change, even in a small way. That I could share my story and break some of the stigma around mental illness, and help other mums.

Eighteen months after my first baby was born I returned to my high-pressure career in Human Resources, working at a busy women’s hospital. I went on to have another baby a few years later. But I just didn’t feel the same way about my professional career as I once had.

It became obvious to me that there was a complete lack of support for mothers to deal with the everyday challenges which faced them. That so many aspects of being a mother was just accepted as being “part of the job”.  Mum guilt, feeling disorganised, feeling disconnected from their partners and lack of confidence, to name but a few. I wanted to use my HR skills to create a resource for all mothers, not just those struggling with their mental health. It needed to be something accessible and affordable, that could easily fit into a busy mum’s life.

I surveyed several hundred mothers to identify what their biggest challenges were. Collectively, mums were facing the same issues, and this became the basis for the content. It also became clear that for time poor and often financially restrained mums a mobile app was the most logical choice to deliver this program.

So I started the journey of developing the Kite Program. And it turned out that it is the world’s first personal development app for mothers. I was surprised to discover that other apps designed for mums were focused on parenting, weight loss or shopping. There was nothing available that focused on mothers as individuals.

The Kite Program is made up of 14 topics (Kites). One manageable and simple activity is delivered each day; however it is completely user led and activities will wait patiently until completed.

Kite is like a beautiful book, broken down in to micro activities, as we know that small steps can lead to great change. It is also really empowering when you have a practical idea to tackle a challenge you are facing. So often as mums we are just expected to get on with it and muddle along. That becoming a mother automatically means you forfeit your own wellbeing and identity. There absolutely needs to be a shift in this way of thinking.

Hannah lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with her husband and two children, aged five and two. Kite launched at the beginning of March and is available on both the App Store and Google Play. Hannah also blogs about her postpartum bipolar story. Check it out: thekiteprogram.com/blog

Kite offers a free 7 day trial. A one-off payment of $14.99 gives you full access to the entire program.