What you don’t expect when you’re expecting: a baby and a new business

Emily Tredget, co-founder of Happity, explains how her struggles with post-natal depression have powered her mission to support new parents.

Our experts

We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality.
Written and reviewed by:
Emily Tredget

When I pictured becoming a mum, I expected my maternity leave to be like the movies. Sunny picnics in the park. Coffees with friends. Lots of laughter and smiles!

Unfortunately, my experience was far from this. I was one of the unlucky one in five mums who struggled with Post Natal Depression (PND). Like thousands of others, I spent those first months experiencing extreme insomnia, low mood, and suicidal thoughts.

Even simple tasks like standing in a queue, going to the local shop for milk, or getting coffee with friends – all brought on crippling anxiety. This resulted in me staying at home most days, with family stepping in to help whilst my husband was at work.

Finding the silver lining

As I started to recover, being the ever-looking-for-improvements type person I am, I researched why I’d struggled, and what could be done to stop other parents from struggling like I had.

I found that there was a link between loneliness and mental health struggles, and so I made it my mission to ensure that other parents weren’t lonely.

I started to share my story in newspapers and on the TV/radio, and set up a campaign called #ShoutieSelfie which asked people to post a selfie of themselves shouting that they had struggled with PND, or loved someone who did.

It went viral, with BBC5Live and various celebs supporting it. Slowly talking about PND started to become more normal, and I began to see just how vital support and community is for new parents.

I set up an app to help mums meet locally, but working alone in tech, and with next to no budget it was tough.

Looking for like-minded individuals, I applied for an accelerator to create some support around me and I was put in touch with my business partner, Sara who had set up Happity.

After a good few months of talking and sharing our mission we decided to come together. I don’t think either of us quite believed our luck that we’d found someone who shared the same mission, but complimentary skills!

A force for good

Happity helps parents to find baby and toddler groups locally to help build community. We’ve grown a lot since those initial days where it was just Sara and I with a techie and admin support.

We now have a team of 10 part-time, remote workers who all feel as strongly about helping new parents to build a community as we are. It’s so important to find the right people to work with; those who are passionate about our mission as well as experts in their field.

It’s not been an easy ride; COVID was a curveball. Coming just after we started to monetise, it was a challenge that none of us could have predicted.

But since then the team (along with a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign!) has helped us to expand outside of London, and into new key cities across the UK. Many of those who work here at Happity are parents, a few of them having shared my experience of PND – so the drive to help other parents not to experience the same thing is high.

No looking back

Now, I’m actually happy that I went through the awful struggles of PND (which is not something I ever thought I’d say!) because it gave me a passion and drive to ensure other parents don’t go through what I went through.

During COVID, I was asked to talk at the House of Commons a couple of times about the importance of parent and child groups.  We campaigned to get nurseries opened as soon as it was safe to do so.

It was the hardest, longest slog; and that is why having that passion to help others was exactly what we needed to start a business. Sara and I could have given up. We could have shelved Happity for a period of time due to no in-person classes. But we didn’t.

We got online classes going over one weekend, and fought for the parents and class providers we are so passionate about supporting. We couldn’t let them down; I know what a life saver classes can be.

Read more about inspiring change makers like Happity in our list of the top startups championing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in 2023.

Written by:
Reviewed by:
Emily Tredget
Emily Tredget is the co-founder of Happity, a booking platform for toddler and baby classes. After experiencing the delibitating impact of post-natal depression following the birth of her son, Tredget made it her mission to help parents maintain good mental wellness. An active campaigner for maternal mental health, she worked tirelessly to reduce the stigma and raise awareness with her #ShoutieSelfie campaign in May 2017. That same year, she launched Happity with co-founder Sara Tateno. The pair were nominated for a Your UK Parliament award for their campaign to allow parent and child groups to stay open during lockdown, and the business recently won the Startups 100 DEI award in 2023.

Leave a comment

Leave a reply

We value your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. Please review our commenting policy.

Back to Top