Ko Waitakere tōku pae maunga
Ko Waitemata tōku moana
Ko Patrick Donovan te rangatira o runga
Ko Aerana tōku iwi
Ko Devey tōku hapu
Ko Hall tōku whānau
Ko Michelle tōku ingoa
Originally from Tāmaki Makaurau, Tauranga Moana has been my home for 16 years, where I live with my husband, Robert, and daughter.
My journey into motherhood started with a strong determination to prove the medical profession wrong, successfully conceiving and having a homebirth surrounded by my family. The first year of being a new mother proved to be the most stressful and isolated period I have ever experienced. Coping with a screaming baby suffering from undiagnosed reflux, coupled with the expectation that I had to manage everything on my own as a capable and organised woman, resulted in overwhelming feelings of failure. Lacking adequate postnatal preparation and support, I spiralled into a deep postnatal depression that took years to overcome.
Thankfully, I allowed loved ones to assist in my recovery and rediscovering my identity as a mother, choosing to embrace life. It hasn’t been easy to break through the barriers and stigma surrounding maternal mental health, or societal myths around intensive, solitary mothering. My introspective journey to understand the meaning of motherhood for me revealed that a fundamental and sacred aspect of a mother’s wellbeing involves being embraced within a community of fellow women and mothers. It took time for me to find this within motherhood and inspired me to establish it for others through True Colours - Honouring the Mother.
I described this mahi as my ‘heart work’ and the past six years of supporting māmā, pēpi, and whānau has inspired my recently completed Master’s research titled Transitioning to parenting – embrace, educate, empower – a pathway to supporting perinatal mental wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand.
I eagerly anticipate the next chapter at True Colours - Honouring the Mother, as we invite additional facilitators to contribute their wisdom, empathy, and strength to support and walk with māmā.
Michelle Hall MSc, BSc, MaSW
Phone: 021 541 440