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As a young mom, I experienced postpartum depression -Mental health advocate

MaryJoy Omoh’s journey is one of transformation from a young woman with personal struggles to a passionate mental health and anti-domestic violence advocate. Motivated by her own experience with mental illness as a young mother, she embarked on a journey of education and growth.

She is the founder of the Creative Moms Corner Foundation, and her unwavering commitment to challenging stigmas and advocating for gender equality shines as a beacon of hope for women facing adversity.

Join us as she shares her thrilling experiences with Iya Magazine.

Please, introduce yourself to us
I am MaryJoy Chinazondu Ihugba Omoh, born and raised in Imo State. I’m the youngest of seven siblings.

Could you share some insights about your upbringing?
I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by love. Being the youngest brought me even closer to my siblings, who have showered me with care and protection. Their support remains unwavering, and they still see me as their cherished little one. I was raised by a very strict dad and a liberal mom. My mom’s influence has been profound, as I draw immense strength from her. Her prayerful nature, diligence, passion, and positive outlook on life have shaped me.

Could you list the schools you attended?
I started my primary education at Central School Umuaka, followed by Girls Secondary Technical School, Umuaka, both in Imo State. Thereafter, I pursued a degree in Mass Communication at Imo State University.

Tell us about your career journey
Though I studied Mass Communication, I am passionate about teaching. After I completed my NYSC, I worked as an executive secretary for three years before I ventured into secondary school teaching. My commitment to education led me to become a public speaker, anti-domestic violence advocate, mental health champion, author, and storyteller.

How did your journey into advocacy and founding the Creative Moms Corner Foundation start?
Emotional abuse, which leads to mental instability and possible depression, has claimed the lives of many young married women due to their naivety about surviving an ailing marriage. My journey into advocacy was led by a true-life experience. After a woman gives birth to a child, most people assume that she will be happy while nurturing the child, but that is not always the case.

As a young mom, I went through mental illness. I was depressed and even thought of committing suicide. The only thing that restrained me was the love I have for my children. I kept asking myself how they would survive without me. So, instead of dying, I sought help. Thankfully, I met mentors who opened my eyes to the realities of life.

When I rediscovered myself, I started writing posts about domestic violence and mental health on my social media platforms. I found out that people were really interested in knowing more, while some were utterly ignorant of mental illness and its negative effects.
I started the Creative Moms Corner Foundation as a medium to reach more people and create more awareness for mental health wellness.

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Could you elaborate on the organisation’s goals?
The Creative Moms Corner Foundation’s overarching goals centre on raising awareness about postpartum depression, mental health, and domestic violence. Through educational initiatives like workshops and curricular integration, the foundation aims to dispel misinformation and empower mothers. It seeks to foster a supportive community by offering counselling, peer groups, and safe online spaces. Advocacy efforts focus on challenging stigmas, advocating for policy changes, and collaborating with influencers.

How has your journey progressed so far?
I would say it has been a journey of learning and growth. In the beginning, I knew I needed to equip myself with the required skills and knowledge. So I took several professional courses and received training on domestic violence and mental health. I also invite different personalities to share their stories live on my page.

I have hosted many online webinars, summits, and master classes on domestic violence and mental health. I have also been a speaker and panellist in other people’s summits and conferences. Although we have many people connecting with us online, I have also done more physical outreach, like going to hospitals and health centres to talk to pregnant women and new mothers. I hosted my first physical event tagged “International Women’s Day with the Girls” on March 8th, 2023, and it was a huge success.

What’s upcoming for you?
This October, I’m starting a marathon course called “30 Days of Mental Health Journey and Accountability with MaryJoy. Then on Tuesday, October 10th, 2023, we intend to host 500 secondary school students from 25 different secondary schools here in Delta State to mark World Mental Health Day 2023. Followed by a soirée for young moms, ladies, and gentlemen on Friday, October 13th, 2023. It’s going to be an educational and impactful session, and I’m honestly looking forward to it.

Can we talk about the books you have authored?
I have authored two books. The first one is titled “The Diary of a Scorned Wife.” It’s a true-life story of abuse, neglect, and victory. The second one is “You Are Not Alone: How to Regain and Maintain Your Mental Health.” This book gives very simple directives and practical ways of regaining and maintaining your mental health.

What’s your life’s ultimate goal?
I aspire to be a beacon of hope for countless women, especially young mothers, simplifying mental health and guiding them through uncertainties.

Are you married?
Yes, I’m married with three kids. Being a young career mom hasn’t been easy, but my husband is trying his best to support my vision in the best way he can, and I sincerely appreciate his support.

Are you a feminist?
To me, a feminist is someone who believes in gender equality, and I am proud to say that I am a feminist. I believe everyone is unique; therefore, they should be loved, respected, and treated right.

How do you unwind?
I find solace in evening strolls. When I was still single, I never missed it, but these days, I have not been consistent. My favourite book is the Holy Bible, and I read it for wisdom, strength, and comfort. I also love romance and self-development books.

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Who would you love to meet most in the whole world?
I would love to meet Chimamanda Adichie and shake her hands in appreciation. If time permits, I would love to sit down and learn from her wealth of knowledge and self-consciousness.

What’s your final word of advice, especially to women in abusive relationships?
The toll of domestic violence is taking lives with increasing frequency each day. Acknowledging its pervasive existence, recognising its harmful nature, and understanding its far-reaching impact, including on innocent children, is crucial for us.

By confronting this issue head-on and collectively committing to its cessation, we can pave the way for a more secure future. While no home may be entirely perfect, the aspiration to provide a violence-free environment is one that unites us.

If you are in an abusive relationship, please tell someone. You need to talk to someone and be saved. Above all, never forget the place of prayer. God is always there, and he will hear your sincere prayers. I care about you, but you need to care about yourself more. So, get help.

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