Happy Mamas Solihull, a support network for new mums, received a £2,000 grant from the Solihull Winter Wellbeing & Recovery fund, enabling them to continue their Walk & Talk sessions and bring some much-needed social contact back for the mums in the borough.
Happy Mamas Solihull is a newly registered group with Solihull Council, thanks to the grant they were able to purchase high vis jackets for the mums, helping them to be recognised as an official group and can continue their park meet-ups safely.
Founded by Jemma and Jenny, they both wanted to create a group that focused on the wellbeing of new mums, with goals of reducing isolation, coping strategies, sharing experiences and providing a support network so new mums don’t feel alone. Jemma explained:
“Myself and Jenny have personal experiences with all sorts of issues after having babies ourselves and we know what it’s like, we want to use that experience as something positive and help new mums with wellbeing and mental health.
“There’s a stigma attached to being a new mum, it’s perceived to be a happy time and this message is shared on social media, but reality isn’t like that. Sometimes it can be but most of the time it’s a hard graft.”
The grant also helped to fund a Zoom membership to provide weekly virtual catch-up sessions for mums self-isolating. They also purchased flyers to be placed in GP’s to advertise their support service. Jemma continued:
“The group is open to any new mum with a new-born up to preschool, when their child is at school it’s at this point they begin to make their own support networks with other parents from the school.
“When you’re a new mum and the midwife signs you off you’re sort of left to get on with it and unless you have friends with young children it’s really hard to connect with other people and you can become quite isolated.
“Our group gives them that social support network, you can message people from the group for advice. Our groups are quite small, so people tend to naturally develop their own little networks, and that’s basically when our job’s done when they have someone else to support them and vice versa.”
Louise, a beneficiary, said:
“I started coming to the Happy Mamas’ Walks when my daughter was five weeks old. I’d been struggling with not only having to have a C-section birth but then also being unable to establish breastfeeding, which was really important to me.
“Along with Coronavirus restrictions and being unable to see friends and family I was frustrated and upset as things hadn’t gone according to the plan I had when I was pregnant. Whilst my husband was very sympathetic and supportive, he couldn’t really understand why certain things, like being unable to breastfeed, were bothering me so much.
“Going along to Happy Mamas and hearing other mums’ experiences made me realise I wasn’t alone with what I went through, and my feelings were totally normal and valid. I definitely believe being able to get other mums’ perspectives played a big part in me coming to terms with everything and being able to move on and just enjoy being a mum.
“My daughter is now nearly 4 months old and I still love going to the walks as it’s great place to discuss with other mums all the things about parenting they never tell you and with the current restrictions making it hard to see family and friends, I’d be a bit lost without them.”
“The general feedback from our mums is that during the pandemic our group has been a godsend, they felt so isolated and lonely, it’s given them something to get ready for or look forward to throughout the week, it’s given them the chance to actually get out, get some exercise, fresh air, and meet other people.
“Whatever challenge you’re going through, being stuck inside thinking about that problem makes it feel enormous.
“When you start talking to people about it you gain some perspective and see the bigger picture. Saying something out loud just gets it off your chest and that’s what we’re here for, being a brain dump for these mums.”
If you’re a group in Solihull in need of funding, check out our Solihull Winter Wellbeing & Recovery Fund.