Sarah’s Story

Background

I was already a mother to two teenage boys before I had my third son last year. I had experienced a very traumatic birth with my second child that had put me off wanting any more children for 12 years, so the age gap felt immense.

It also took me some time to bond with him and I experienced many symptoms of PND. I was excited but unsure. 

Months in, I began to notice feelings of anxiety, stress and general low mood beginning to creep in. I had negative feelings towards myself and after moving away from an area full of friends, family and support, I felt isolated. I had a new baby and some old feelings to contend with. I didn’t feel like I could speak to anyone about it as I thought I’d just sound ungrateful or ridiculous, so I kept it to myself for months, hoping it would be okay. It didn’t get any better. After hours alone all day with a baby I was still trying to figure out a new life, I did my best to adjust to and be happy about it but the low mood would sit on my chest like a weight all day.

I knew I didn’t want to continue down this road and something had to change. I referred myself to Herts Mind Network, who put me in contact with the Mums Matter group.  

Initial contact

Just the referral itself felt like a step in the right direction. My initial contact was a phone call, which quickly settled my nerves and reassured me that I had done the right thing.

I felt comfortable to talk through my situation and I was lucky enough to be put in a group that was to start fairly soon. This was followed by an assessment by zoom and as we went through the questionnaire, I was surprised by the answers I gave, as I had not really thought about my day-to-day feelings or state for a very long time. But I was hopeful.

The group

The group sessions were all conducted over Zoom which suited me as I was anxious about having to travel to a meeting with my baby and would overthink all the things that could go wrong.

I didn’t even have to worry about taking a moment to tend to my baby as it was a given that we could turn our cameras off for five mins, feed/change/play with our little ones while still remaining part of the meeting and getting the full benefits without having to compromise. 

 

 

I felt relieved to be in a space with other mums that had similar experiences to me and was able to voice my fears and feelings in a safe, empathetic place. I recognised parts of myself in each mum in the group and we quickly bonded, knowing that we were no longer alone. 

With the guidance of the Group Facilitators, the weekly meetings gave me an enormous sense of structure for the week ahead and I could feel that I was slowly turning a corner. With each passing week, I felt better, stronger and renewed. The meetings gave me a new perspective and I found some great new mum friends, who I still keep in touch with via a WhatsApp group.

The weekly meditations were an excellent way for me to learn how to be in the moment and breathe, stop and ground myself in difficult situations. It’s something I still use now when I feel anxious and a great tool I can add to my arsenal of preventative measures to stop spiralling anxiety. The weight on my chest was finally lifting.

My journey

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Mums Matter group saved me. I honestly felt like I was drowning in a sea of emotions and that I could give in and go under at any moment. I really do feel that being in the group was like coming up for fresh air.

Little by little by confidence started to build and I was able to put pieces of myself back together again. I will forever be grateful that I had the opportunity to be in a space with such amazing, brave, strong and fantastic women. In every meeting and with every follow-up phone call, text or email, we were heard by the Group Facilitators. They respected our feelings and never belittled them or made us feel like anything was too much. I’ve never been in an environment that was so sensitive, understanding and non-judgmental before and I will truly miss the safe space that was created by the group. 

I can’t stress enough just how powerful and important the sessions were to me and my family. I’ve been given a new lease of life and I feel so grateful that it came just at the right time for me. I would encourage any mother experiencing low mood, anxiety, depression or negative feelings during the first years of motherhood to take a chance and embrace the program. I appreciate all that it has done for me and the lasting effects it has had on my life.