Thursday, 28 March 2013

Nurturing Mums Postnatal Group - Guest Post

I connected with Elise from Nurturing Mums in February this year via Facebook and she asked if it would be possible to share with you the postnatal group she runs supporting and helping new Mums through those early weeks of motherhood. Like me, Elise dealt with having a new child in a foreign country and experienced the challenges that can bring. Nurturing Mums was set up to help support new Mums and is based in East Finchley, London. I’ll leave Elise to tell you more.

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I am a proud mum of three kids aged 8, 5 and 2. Being a mum is rewarding yet challenging, life changing yet eye-opening, and natural yet difficult. With the three of them, I am able to multi-task like a professional PA – in an afternoon, I can pick them up from school, manage a playdate, cook tea for all of the children, update Facebook, have them practice their reading and violin respectively and get them all clean in a quick bath! Not to mention keep the house tidy throughout. It hasn’t always been this way. 

Photo Credit: Nurturing Mums

When I had my first child, I felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. I was in a new country without my immediate family nearby, we had constant visitors (including from overseas), my mum was diagnosed with cancer (she is thankfully fine now) and I had a pretty horrendous birth experience by my standards. I had thrush (unknowingly) and had an absolutely horrific time breastfeeding, I lasted 3 weeks only and a specialist told me I was hero for lasting as long as I did. I certainly didn’t feel like a hero though, only a failure.

Without a support network, I felt like I was lost at sea. The highlight of my day was when my husband would come home so I could hand the baby to him and go straight to bed.  I was shattered, physically and emotionally. Of course I had no idea how to manage any of these feelings at the time, and it was only with hindsight that I have recognized how low things had been. My sister’s friend (a social worker) suggested that I might be suffering from postnatal depression, but I was angry at the mere thought and didn’t give it a second thought. I wish I would have.

Photo Credit: Nurturing Mums

The idea for Nurturing Mums postnatal groups came from my experience with being a first time mum. I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t warned, I wasn’t ready. I think however, even if I was all of these things, it wouldn’t have made a difference to the day to day difficulties I was facing. I needed some sort of structure, something to look forward to, and something to get dressed for !

That is exactly why I decided to start Nurturing postnatal groups. Gemma and I have a vision of bringing new mums together. The idea is to give them a non-judgemental space to talk about what is really on their minds. In the meet and greet session, we talk about birth stories and whether they went according to plan. We talk about feeding, what worked for you and what didn’t. We talk about highs and lows, what we are loving as new mums and what we are struggling with.

With my first, I had no idea about naps, routines or dream feeds. I knew nothing about combining breast and bottle, or getting through difficult breastfeeding (which I have subsequently managed!). I was in the dark about baby stimulation and what was interesting to babies. My mum suggested I teach my daughter the parts of her body; I had never thought of it until that point, and from there she flourished. I had no clue about what foods to start weaning with, when to progress, how lumpy the food should be. 

At Nurturing Mums, our expert guest speakers are there to help the mums navigate the confusing and abundant information available about weaning, sleep and development. We talk about naps, learning to tell how and when your baby is tired, and implementing a bedtime routine. We also cover nutrition, talking about signs that your baby is ready for weaning, baby led weaning and how to get started whatever method you use. All information I craved to have known when I was a new mum.  We believe that mums can benefit from these supportive talks so they don’t feel like they are going at it alone, they have a sociable network!

Our mums also get a professional photograph to cherish of them and their baby; they get to enjoy a lovely pampering morning, something I wasn’t able to do until my first was at least one!! We had a full house in January, and are hoping that April’s group will be full up as well. The more the merrier, the more we share.



If you would like to find out more about what Nurturing Mums do or to sign up for their April  Nurturing Mums course beginning on 16th April, then pop across to their website: www.nurturingmumsuk.comYou can also find them on Facebook and Twitter: @nurturingmumsuk



6 comments:

  1. Wow, I wish there was something like this in my area! We've just moved from London to Kent and I'm currently 41 weeks pregnant, living in my in-laws attic, with no real support network. My husband is starting a new job on Thursday so is not entitled to paternity leave and we're just praying baby arrives before he has to go away for training! I'm fine about it all at the moment, but I can imagine I'm in danger of feeling totally overwhelmed once baby arrives and I have no clue what I'm doing! Our antenatal classes were not that helpful in terms of the social / support side of things either, these kinds of groups and courses must be invaluable.

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    1. Hi Emily - Thanks for stopping by. Wow, I feel for you having just moved and your husband starting a new job too. Having a baby is such a major thing that support is so important. I Googled, postnatal groups in Kent and got this website which looks full of great info. Check is out: http://www.kentparentnetworking.co.uk/ and good luck with the birth. Stay in touch xx

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  2. Hi

    I am a doula in Barnehurst DA7, whereabouts in Kent are you?

    have you tried your local surestart centre? they are normally a good place to start.

    here is my website:| www.milliondoulababy.weebly.com

    let me know if you need any more information x x


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  3. As a Mum to a very typical Dr Sears High Needs baby I would have loved a group like this locally. Maybe I should consider starting a group like this up in the area when my babe is a little bigger.

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    1. Hi AM - My eldest was a high needs baby too and she still is highly sensitive aged 6. I struggled finding groups I felt comfortable visiting. I think more postnatal support groups are needed that are non-judgemental and inclusive. I think you setting up a group near you is a great idea xx

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