Spotlight: Dr Ivana Poku

Dr. Ivana Poku is a motivational speaker, award-winning mentor, mother of three (including twins), and wife to an amazing husband. She is on a mission to help mothers stop struggling in silence and be happy again.

Ivana was born in Slovakia and came to the UK at the age of 29 after divorcing her first husband. She came with no job, no contacts, and almost no money. All she had was a suitcase and a passport. It was a terrifying experience, but it was also one of the best experiences of her life. It taught her a lot about life and herself.

In 2015, she met her husband Yaw and they quickly fell in love. When she found out she was pregnant with twins, she was over the moon.

However, the reality of motherhood was not what she expected. She didn’t feel like a mother, she didn’t enjoy “every moment,” and she missed her old life. She was convinced that her children deserved a better mother. Ivana felt incredibly ashamed of how she felt and she put all her effort into hiding her feelings. Outwardly, she was the happy, relaxed mother she thought she should be, but inside, she was falling apart. Today, she knows that she struggled with severe postnatal depression (PND), but she had no idea back then. She simply felt like she was failing. Luckily, she eventually managed to pull through, but she knows that this is not the case for everyone. There are thousands of mothers (and fathers) around the world who struggle in silence.

Ivana is convinced that one of the main reasons for this is unrealistic expectations about motherhood. Social media and society create an illusion that motherhood is nothing but pure joy and happiness. However, this is often not the case. If a new mother does not feel happy, she often feels like a failure, hides her feelings, and suffers in silence. Even if it does not go as far as depression, being a mother is far from a bed of roses, and without relevant information and support, it can easily lead to it.

Once Ivana understood this, she knew she had to make a difference. She set up @Mumsjourney, published the book Motherhood – The Unspoken, organised workshops for new parents, and eventually also started private mentoring. After 6 years of working with mothers, she developed her own method – T.A.L.K. – that is designed to help mothers reclaim their lives, their happiness, and most importantly, themselves. “It has not been easy to run a business while looking after (now three) small children”, but the memory of how lonely and low she felt once is the driving force that has always been pushing her forward. Her ultimate goal is to smash the stigma and bring a lasting change for mothers and their families around the world.

Ivana truly believes that once people understand that being a new mother is not all a bed of roses, it will dramatically decrease the number of PND cases and put an end to struggling in silence once and for all.