In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be starting our newest group – Little Bundles – which will hopefully serve the residents here and help to build relationships. It is designed for new mums and babies to offer a space for friendship and support and to share experiences of new-motherhood. We found ourselves that as new parents, we really didn’t know what we were doing, and had it not been for the support of the women in our church in Plymouth, we would have really struggled. (This is not the final logo – I have to remove the bear as apparently the free stock photo site I went to doesn’t allow you to use their photos in logos).
In other parts of Northampton, they have been running Talking Point groups for some time. When Charlie Nobbs and his wife arrived on their new-build development nine years ago, they asked the local doctors and health visitors what they thought the needs of the community were. The answer was that their slightly isolated development had a much higher than average concentration of ante-natal depression. Living in a new community far away from the support of immediate family, and where many of the mums held career-track jobs and commuted away from work, suddenly they found themselves at home every day, knowing very few people around them. It was also quite a trek to get to a doctor or health visitor in those early days. Talking Point was simply a group to share motherhood experiences, with a health visitor present, and this alone has reduced the instances of ante-natal depression. They have run many groups over the years and the concept has also spread to the nearby new development of Upton.
We have taken inspiration from these but modified it slightly. Our local health visitors have mentioned some isolation of mums and some depression too (but not, as it sounds, at the level of the other development ten years ago). It became clear early on that we were not going to be able to have a health visitor present every week, due to their limited resources, so we have adapted the format a little. However, they, along with the local children’s centre at Upton have been very encouraging in what we are trying to do.
The aim of the session is primarily to offer a supporting space for new mums to share experiences, worries and frustrations with each other. So we’ll serve coffee and cake and simply try to create the right sort of atmosphere. Each week we will also have a short time of advice or discussion on baby-related subjects from different professionals, such as breast feeding advice, weaning advice, an introduction to baby signing or baby massage, discussion of different cloth-nappy options. We also hope to have a health visitor around once every couple of months.
We launch on 1st November!