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Bushra's story

Living with postnatal depression left Bushra Afzal, a mum from Kennington in London, unable to cope. Feeling isolated, she joined a HENRY programme at a local children’s centre.

After the birth of both my children, I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. Surrounded by children, milk and nappies, I was entirely fed up of everything. At home I felt claustrophobic. When I went out I felt panicky. I couldn’t find a way forward.

I was in a constant state of worry about not being able to meet my children’s needs. Other than my husband, I had no family nearby to share my feelings with. I felt isolated and alone.

HENRY gave me the energy and confidence to change our home life. For the first time, I realised there were things I could do to make our lives happier, healthier and easier. Now the children have set mealtimes and bed times. We all eat more fruit and vegetables than before, and the TV is always turned off during dinner. I’ve limited the children’s screen time and we spend much more time outdoors.

The programme went far beyond healthy eating. Being active, managing children’s behaviour and understanding their feelings were all covered. The positive atmosphere in the room was contagious. It motivated me to the point where I couldn’t wait to get home and put into practice what I’d learnt.

Before the programme I’d get frustrated with the children. Shouting at them only made me feel guilty afterwards, and did little to change their behaviour. HENRY helped me to understand how to manage my own feelings and how to empathise more with theirs.

Being part of the HENRY programme has helped me to understand how to manage different situations. I’m no longer anxious about whether I’m doing enough for my children – HENRY has shown me that I am. I’m now the mum my children deserve and that feels nice.

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