Mothers for Mothers is a Bristol based charity which supports parents affected by perinatal mental illness (PNI). The MCF awarded a grant of £5,000 to help fund the charity’s support groups, which are run by women who have experienced perinatal mental illness themselves.
Perinatal mental illness
Around 20 per cent of women experience a mental health issue during pregnancy or after birth. PNI makes the already daunting task of parenthood even more difficult and can have long term effects on parents and their children.
The charity is helping to tackle the social isolation felt by women with PNI through its helpline, home visits, counselling and family support groups.
The services provided play a key part in helping parents and children to build new social networks and encourage them to access other activities in the community. Support is available from pregnancy, up until their youngest child attends school.
Weekly peer support groups provide a safe place for mothers to talk about how they feel with people who understand.
Many women with PNI feel too unwell to attend other baby and toddler groups, and this provides an opportunity to leave the house and socialise. The sessions offer one-to-one advice and information, a play-worker who helps mothers find ways of bonding with their baby, activities and therapies, or just the chance to have a cup of tea and a chat.
The groups also come together for social occasions and trips, enabling families to enjoy a day out together where the mother feels feeling safe and supported.
Becoming a mother is one of the biggest transitions a woman will go through and having someone there who understands and listens to your experience without judgement can make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of mums who are finding this time difficult.
Volunteering for Mothers for Mothers has given me the opportunity to use what was one of the most challenging times of my life to help and support others empathically through their own difficulties.