Rachael Barnes, a mum and businesswoman from Newport, who recently featured in a book about inspirational women, talked to Brooke Boucher about the trials and tribulations she’s gone through to combine family life with a successful business, and her plans for the future.

“I LIVED with my parents and younger brother in a two-bedroom terraced house in the Welsh mining village of Cwmfelinfach.

“On a Sunday night, we would listen to the charts on the radio and dance around the room with my mum. We didn’t have a lot, but my mum would ensure we always had nice clothes and a caravan holiday once or twice a year.

“When I was eight-years-old my nan died. I became terrified of dying, but never spoke about it.

South Wales Argus:

Rachael Barnes, 47, now lives in Rogerstone

“Instead, I developed what I now know to be OCD as a coping mechanism. I developed a ritual, I would have to say ‘goodnight, nos da, see you in the morning’ and have a box of tissues on the pillow next to me every night.

“I’d also ask God three times to let me make it through the night. I wasn’t sure I believed in God but thought I’d say it to be on the safe side.

"I thought if I didn't say it three times I would die.

“At home I could be bossy and outgoing, but in school I was incredibly self-conscious.

“My teachers recognised that I was bright and gave me lots of extra work, which I sometimes pretended that I couldn’t do so that I could work with my friends.

“Choosing to study psychology at university seemed the obvious choice. I’m not sure whether I was looking to help others or myself.

“During my third year of university, I became dependent on alcohol as a way of boosting my confidence, and it replaced my OCD.

South Wales Argus:

Rachael Barnes said that the excessive drinking also caused intense stomach problems

“I would drink so much that I couldn’t remember most of the night and then I would spend the whole of the next say being sick and hating myself.

“I did not talk about it with anyone, but meeting my husband saved me. I sorted my head out and trained to be a teacher.

“In August of 2004 I found out I was pregnant. Adam was born in April 2005 and was a happy baby. By the time he was two and a half, he was chatting away and knew all the letters of the alphabet.

“When Adam started nursery, I noticed that he was starting to pick up some odd behaviours.

“He would check on all the doors, run around in circles and his eye contact had begun to disappear, along with his speech.

“I made an appointment to see our GP and we were told it was probably autism, but there were no further investigations.

South Wales Argus:

Mrs Barnes' son Adam has not been officially diagnosed

“When we discovered ABA therapy, it was a complete game changer for Adam.

“But then life started to take a downhill turn yet again. My mum wasn’t feeling well and had a slight yellow tinge to her skin.

"I was trying not to panic, but kept googling the symptoms and the word that kept appearing was cancer.

"Just five weeks later, the day after my mum celebrated her 65th birthday, she began to slip away.

"I returned to work in January 2017 feeling fragile. To make things worse, my old supportive boss had left and landed us with the boss from hell.


"My health started to suffer, and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high anxiety. I knew that I had to leave.

"So, I was left unemployed with no idea what to do next. I really wanted to help people just like me who were a bit lost and lacking in confidence.

"For Christmas 2018 I bought myself an online training course and worked on getting myself qualified. I now work as a Confidence and Self Worth Coach and I’m passionate about helping ladies find their true potential.

“When the chance to become a Mums in Business Association (MIBA) co-ordinator came up I was desperate for the role as it meant that I could be part of an organisation where women helped to empower each other.

"I also do one-tone therapy with kids, teens and autism families and I'm hoping to go into schools to talk about mental health.

“I now feel happier and more contented than I’ve ever felt. With the right support, Adam is making progress.

“I’m currently looking for a suitable property to hopefully open my own autism school, to provide the facilities needed for young adults, like Adam, to progress into working life”.

Rachael Barnes is one of eight women who are the subject of the book Rise of the Mumpreneur, by Estelle Keeber and Leona Burton (MIBA Publishing, £12.99).

You can find Rachael at www.rachaelbarnes.co.uk