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Nikki Steele Osborne said a retreat to overcome her condition turned her life around Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Nikki Steele Osborne suffered postpartum depression 18 months after her son’s birth in 2017.

Also called PPD, it is a medical condition where after delivering a baby, women experience strong feelings of sadness, anxiety and tiredness that last for a long time after giving birth.

Having overcome it, the Scottish expat is now a mission to change the lives of new mothers facing symptoms.

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It all began with a moment of great joy when Nikki learned that she was pregnant with her first child on Christmas 2016. She was 40 and trying to conceive for three years.

“I felt like all of my Christmas’ had come at once,” Nikki said. “We were living in a beautiful town called Tivat in Montenegro and it was financially viable for me to live my dream of being a stay at home mum.”

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Her pregnancy went well. On August 16, 2017, her son Archie was born in her hometown Falkirk in Scotland. “My family lives there so I had their support. My husband’s parents flew over from the US to be with us. Blessed and grateful, we were ready to start a new life as a family,” Nikki said.

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Nikki and Archie Image Credit: Supplied

Fast forward 18 months and Nikki knew something was not right. She was experiencing emotional upheavals. “On some days I would cry, feel hopeless, isolated and disconnected with my surroundings,” she said. “On other days, I felt normal and happy.”

Nikki was in a state of denial, hoping the emotional turmoil would fade away. But it was not to be.

Life-changing moment

Finally, a friend suggested she speak to a counsellor and register for a two-day retreat led by a life coach.

“It was a safe place to talk to without the fear of burdening family or friends,” Nikki said. “I needed an expert to give me professional advice. It was a turning point in my life.”

Nikki was ready to turn things around and free herself from the darkness she felt in her life.

“Mothers are mostly unaware they are going through postpartum depression,” she said.

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The family sharing a peaceful moment together Image Credit: Supplied

Birth of the Scottish soul sister

One day, as she sat by a river at Tivat, Nikki decided that she will not let her struggle with mental health go in vain. She felt compelled to help other families transition into parenthood.

She decided to educate herself and take up a diploma course on postnatal depression awareness, which she passed with distinction.

“I created an online guide called Stepping Into Parenthood,” she said.

Today, she offers one-to-one online coaching sessions for families to provide them with a safe space to talk and express their feelings without fear of judgement.

Online guide

“The Stepping Into Parenthood online guide is something I poured my heart into,” Nikki said. “When you are in a depressed state, it can be difficult to reach out. The online guide is a 10-step process in identifying and meeting the needs of the individual. It is my goal to help as many families as I can in the UAE and around the world.”

She added: “Introducing small changes can help build momentum and allow light into what once felt dark. Understanding you are not alone and utilising the help and support available will see you embracing parenthood and the challenges it can bring.”