I have been running antenatal and baby classes for over 10 years now.
I had the awful news just under a year ago that one of our mums had taken her own life after suffering from depression. She had been taking classes with us for almost a year and I had had regular chats with her. I had no idea how much she was suffering. I was shocked to the core to hear the news that she taken her life leaving behind a little girl not yet 18 months old.
When I posted the awful news in our closed Facebook group I was inundated with mums coming forward saying they had either suffered from PND or anxiety, or were finding motherhood really tough and isolating. Some were too scared to talk to their GP, in case they took their baby away, or were too frightened to admit they were finding it hard and felt there was a huge stigma attached to admitting they were struggling.
I was compelled to do something! We set up a Mummas Support group, with the help of a psychologist and cognitive hypnotherapist, which meets every 2 weeks, it's free of charge and mums don't need to book.
My main priority is to get mums talking about it, trying to break the stigma that wrongly surrounds it!
The idea for a group of us doing the super obstacle run came from my amazing teacher Steph. Such a great way to pull us mums together, have fun, raise money for an amazing cause and bring to the forefront this important subject!
Here is what some of our mums say...
"Being a mum is the hardest job in the world. It is a magical time, but can leave you feeling isolated. I'm doing this to get fit, have fun, and to tell every mum that they are never alone."
"The mummas network is extraordinary. I've been lucky enough to receive a lot of support at this challenging, new time. I want to give something back and spread the word that no one has to suffer in silence, and what a fun way to do it"
"After what has been the most difficult but rewarding journey of my life, the support Pandas & Mummas & Beans has offered has been brilliant. So running a 5km & raising vital funds for Pandas is the easiest way to say thank you."
"Being a mum of multiples can be lonely, challenging, exhausting and overwhelming. Mummas gave me a place to go and feel confident, it got me out of the house and having fun with my babies. Without that kind of safe haven, it's easy to see how you can become isolated, as sadly some mums do. Raising awareness and funds is just a small thing I can give back."
"So many mummies are faced with so many different challenges and I think what Mummas does is provide and facilitate a network of Mummies that are always there to help or advise whatever the question or problem. They do this in a non judgmental loving way enabling you to do the best job as a mummy!"
"I think post natal depression and psychosis need to be talked about more so there's a greater awareness and less negative stigma. My grandmother and aunty suffered and were hospitalised for a while and I was worried I might carry a gene that made me more susceptible. Luckily I was ok. I made my husband read up on the symptoms and we talked about what my wishes would be if I did need help. There's also a depressing lack of funds for all mental health from the government. I'm proud to be joining in and fundraising for such an important charity."
There are 35 of us taking part in the super obstacle run on 24th September in Great Windsor Park. So far we have raised over £2000 for PANDAS maternal mental health charity! If you would like to sponsor us please click here http://m.virginmoneygiving.com/mt/uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=TeamMummas&faId=731932&isTeam=true