When feeling anxious, it is important to find your anchor.
And for singer and self employed businesswoman Abby Eaton, that is music and her Christian faith.
The 34-year-old, who grew up in Woodplumpton, admits to suffering from post natal depression after becoming a mum to seven-year-old Beau.
Living in the West Midlands with very few friends, she felt isolated and feared she was not good enough to look after her son.
But after a job offer pushed her into new-found confidence, she used her experiences to pen a very personal song about her struggles called Anchor.
Now Abby is touring churches to show support to other women and show them how normal it is to have these feelings.
She reveals: “I am from a very musical family, so I’ve been singing since before I could talk.
“We grew up singing together as a family and performing at gospel concerts at church. Every Christmas we would get together and sing. It just runs through my veins.
“I have always known that I wanted to sing and I starting performing as a teenager. My cousin would play guitar and I would sing at weddings. As more people saw me, I would get bookings for other weddings, as well as funerals.
“That was basically how I learnt, as I grew in confidence. I never had any singing lessons and I have never learnt any instruments. I am self taught as I learnt by ear.
“I did performing arts at Cardinal Newman College in Preston, but unfortunately singing doesn’t pay enough. Even touring artists don’t make ends meet, especially now as fewer people are paying for music as they stream it.
“My parents said I needed something to fall back on. So I trained as a beauty therapist as I love helping people feel good about themselves. I went to Preston’s College and I loved it more than I thought I would.
“I got a job very quickly at Virgin Active Spa and Gym and I was singing on the side.”
Abby’s passion for music grew as she met her now husband Chris whilst she was performing 12 years ago at Fulwood Free Methodist Church.
Chris has a lengthy music career himself, as a professional song writer and was signed to write for Cliff Richard when he was just 19.
She adds: “Chris is amazing and has been in the industry a long time. He has taught me so much about song writing.
“We met at a gig at my home church, where we got married two years later. I saw myself as just a singer but Chris helped me learn to open up to songwriting. I learnt from the best as he is incredible.”
The pair have a seven-year-old son, Beau, together, but Abby admits her new status as a mum left her feeling anxious and stressed as she developed post natal depression.
She reveals: “I was never an anxious person until I became a mum. It was really strange. When I had Beau I suddenly felt like I was out of my depth.
“I didn’t feel like a natural mum which really upset me as I thought I would be.
“I started to feel anxious and I was not the right person for the job to look after my child.
“But I know that’s how so many new mums feel. I didn’t talk to anyone about and for the first six months I went into a dark place.
“I live in a rural area and I didn’t have that many people around me, so I just spiralled down mentally.
“I didn’t want to bother my friends back in Preston as they were too far and it was easier to stay at home rather than socialise.”
But after six months, things turned a corner as Abby was offered the chance to work for Temple Spa, where she is now a manager.
She says: “It changed my life and forced me to get out of the house and meet new people. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and as a result, it gave me so much more confidence.
“I was getting out and talking to other women about my experiences. I was gradually getting to grips with my anxiety and post natal depression.”
It was out of this vulnerability that Abby wrote Anchor, sharing her feelings and expressing it is okay not to be okay.
She reveals: “It’s been a real journey for me. I still battle with anxiety at times but music is a huge healing process.
“My post natal depression did affect me making music for myself as I found it easier to write for other people.
“But I realised when I write songs, I am communicating how I feel. I would sing during my moments of anxiety and I knew that if it worked for me, it would work for others.
“I had a real vulnerability and I was owning that. This song has come from an honest and deep place.
“There were other people who need to hear it is okay to admit you are not okay and you need help. People need to recognise that they are not alone. My songs are about surrender and hope.
“Anchor is about having something you anchor onto in life.
“In this world we feel like we need to have it all together all the time, especially women. We feel we have to be self sufficient, independent and keep all these plates spinning all whilst being a mum and wife.
“How do we do that without an anchor?
“One of the lyrics is ‘Here there is no fear, only perfect peace.’ It is about telling yourself that you may feel anxious but there is nothing to fear.
“My faith is a huge part in that as I trust in God and know his plans are perfect for me as he is there.
“But people who don’t have a faith or religion can find their own anchor, whether it be a relationship or another passion.”Abby released Anchor as a single in April but since then, she has
compiled a six-track EP, also called Anchor, which was released last month.
She says: “I had a pre-launch in the summer with 500 CDs and got good feedback from people who said the songs helped them.
“So I put the album out on all digital formats: Spotify, YouTube and iTunes on November 26.”
Abby and her husband of 10 years Chris collaborated on the project, bringing in producer Jimmy James.
Abby says: “Chris and I wrote the songs together. Chris is great at hearing what he wants to happen with the melody and Jimmy Jones brings in the production to a more contemporary style. I have a great team around me.”
Abby and Chris also regularly fly out to Nashville to record with different gospel artists. The pair also write songs for film and TV shows.
Alongside her singing, Abby still works for Temple Spa as a beauty therapist and she has managed to combine the two passions together by creating an album of relaxing music for the spa.
She adds: “I feel my love of music, beauty, pampering people and helping them to feel good about themselves has all come together.”
As well as touring at various churches up and down the country, Abby offers a personal singing performance at private Saying Goodbye services for parents who have lost babies through miscarriage or stillbirth. She does this with The Mariposa Trust, a charity was set up by her friends Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates.
Looking ahead to next year, Abby will be travelling to Nashville next summer and will tour churches with Anchor. If any churches wish to book Abby, contact her via www.abbyeatonmusic.com, www.facebook.com/Abby-Eaton-Music.