I recently met one of the founders of a new support group for mums in Cheshire, I have friends who would have and who could still really benefit from this group, maybe you will too. The SMILE Group (Supporting Mums in Living with their Emotions) is for mums in Cheshire affected by postnatal issues. They are providing a ‘santuary’ for mums and babies as well as being on a mission to increase support and the profile of PND amongst ante-natal groups and the local community. So allow me to lend my blog to one of founders of The Smile Group, Natalie Nuttall and let her tell you all about it and please – share this post, pass it on and play it forward just in case anyone is silently suffering. Over to Natalie, here she is with her very cute little boy Oscar, I shall let Natalie tell you all about The SMILE Group.
Becoming a mum is arguably the most profound, life-changing experience. It’s an old adage but nobody can prepare you for it, and for some it can be an overwhelming experience.
Up to one in four women is affected by postnatal issues – anything from mild anxiety and ‘baby blues’ to full blown postnatal depression, which can be incredibly debilitating.
My friend and I, Two mums from Macclesfield came together, with the support of Health Visiting services, to make a difference at a community level and set up a support group – The SMILE Group (Supporting Mums in Living with their Emotions) – for mums in Cheshire.
The group meets every Friday from 10am – 12 noon at Hurdsfield Children’s Centre, inviting mums affected by postnatal issues to chat and relax with people going through a similar experience.
I suffered with severe PND after the birth of my son and realised there was no support available at a community level, which seemed ridiculous given that there are at least three groups in Cheshire for breastfeeding support. I was lucky enough to have a very switched on GP and health visitor but I’ve heard anecdotal evidence from mums who have struggled to get clear and consistent guidance, at a time when they feel most vulnerable.
The group is not only a ‘sanctuary’ for mums and their babies – a place where they can be honest and open about their experience – but it’s a platform for lobbying to improve support. We’re talking to the midwifery services about raising the PND agenda in ante-natal sessions, as well as trying to join up health services and ensure mums have help at a local level.
The SMILE Group is also liaising with other charities and support groups across the UK specialising in postnatal issues to try and join the dots and ensure more consistent support for mums when they need it most.