In summer of 2020 I had just had my first baby. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were none of the usual groups or mother/baby classes running, which also meant that I didn't have the opportunity to meet other new parents for company and mutual support. My Health Visitor contacted me to invite me to join a small group of new mums and their babies for a weekly socially-distanced walk, which would be within the guidance that was in place at the time. It was really lovely to have the chance to chat with others in a similar situation to me, and at the end of the first walk we set up a Whatsapp group so that the mums could stay in touch between weekly walks.
After a few weeks the group was becoming well established, the Health Visitors stepped back from attending so that they could also give their time to others, and also the guidance changed - meaning that we were no longer all allowed to walk together at the same time. However thanks to the bonds we had forged we stayed in touch, and met in twos or threes for walks (depending on the current guidance). We became friends, booking onto the same swimming classes, celebrating the babies' different milestones, and sharing tips, advice, worries and challenges. Now, we have shared the joy of first birthdays - as well as the lows of returning to work! We continue to keep in touch, to attend classes together and even the same nursery for three of us.
It has been so helpful to have this group of new friends to share this journey with, and as someone who was considered at high risk of PND due to my personal history (and thus supported by perinatal psychiatry), I am really grateful to my Health Visitors for helping me to connect with other mums, to make friends for myself and also for my baby, when the usual opportunities to do so weren't available. It has been a real highlight of my first year as a mum and shows the commitment that my Health Visitors team has to supporting the parents in their care that they found this way to bring us together.
Thank you to Louisa and all the team!