My name is Liz and I have lived on Fairfield Park for nearly 10 years. In October 2013, I gave birth to triplet girls, closely followed by a little boy in early 2015. I found myself a-stay-at home mum to four children under two years old. This was an extremely daunting task, exacerbated by the fact that I had no close family nearby to help on a day-to-day basis. I remember feeling abandoned, isolated and lonely and this obviously had an impact on my mental health.
As my children have grown, I have continued to feel strongly that there is not enough support out there for mums and I would like to do something to help change that. Last summer, the opportunity arose to set up a PANDAS group in this area and I decided to take this on – PANDAS (which stands for Pre- and Post-Natal Depression Advice and Support) is a fantastic national organisation and local support groups are just a small part of what they offer (please do take a look at their website http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk for more information). I very much hope they will be able to provide us with the structure and support to develop this group into a much-needed long-term local source of support for mums.
I want to make clear in this article that this group is for any mum (or mum to be!) who is struggling and perhaps feeling anxious or low for whatever reason – you are all very welcome. It is intended to be a safe and friendly space to come and talk about your feelings around pregnancy, birth and motherhood, whatever they may be. Please do also feel free to come along if you are a mum of slightly older kids as motherhood doesn’t stop being difficult once your kids are at school. You never know, the experiences you share might just help someone else.
My hope is that the group will grow to be a lovely community of local mums supporting each other and making friends so that no-one else feels they have to struggle alone.
North Herts PANDAS will run fortnightly (term-time only at the moment) on Thursdays from 10am to 11.30am at Fairfield Community Hall. Our next meeting will take place on Thursday 12 March.
If anyone would like to know more or is a little anxious about just turning up, please feel free to message me through the North Herts PANDAS Facebook page and we can chat!
I would also like to ask anyone interested in volunteering with the group to get in touch – we can be very flexible with time commitment but I would really love to have as large and diverse a group of volunteers as possible so even if you can only help occasionally, your input would be valued. Also, if any professionals or local businesses are able to offer some free time (sorry we have no budget!) to come and perhaps provide a talk on your area of expertise or offer some mini pampering treatments or taster sessions that would be amazing!