Client Storiesperinatal mental health support
Reach Helpline and Support Calls
“Before I rang MfM I was struggling with depression, anxiety and intrusive thoughts. I was struggling with life being a mum. The weekly support calls and helpline have been invaluable, not just to do with parenting also the juggling of parenting and working. Support on so many different levels again invaluable. Nothings changed in my daily life I’m still doing the same things but the support has been there to help me manage things. I feel more confident looking after my daughter. All 3 of us would say MfM support is invaluable. I have more of a positive relationship with my daughter. I’m now able to feel like I look after her and not her looking after me! I just hope that everyone in the country has support like we do in Bristol. I’m not the only one who is going through this and we are lucky to have Mothers For Mothers. My life now is pleasurable. I’m able to laugh . I’m so much more positive. Without MfM I don’t know if I would still be here, still in my family home. I was in such a bad place.”
“After coming through the first 18 months of motherhood and realising I’d suffered with PND, I was trying to process what had happened to me. There were/are moments where memories and flashbacks are brought right into the present and it was effecting how I felt about being mother and my relationship with my partner. I would have times where I felt deeply resentful and angry and I found it hard to process why I still felt like this. At first Mothers for Mothers offered a weekly call to check in with me while I was on the waiting list. It was incredibly reassuring to know that someone was looking out for me and being able to check-in on how I was feeling each week held me accountable to following through to therapy. I then completed a 6 week course of Art Psychotherapy with XX from Mothers for Mothers. It was short but incredibly deep and has a profound influence on life. I found that resentment and anger were actually hiding feelings of grief and fear but also realised love and hope were still there too. It revealed and healed so much about the past and has empowered me with tools to move forward in my life.
I am now able to recognise moments when fear has crept in. I am able to give myself space when that happens, to recognise and deal with it in a more rational approach and be kind to myself if I can’t. I’m able to vocalise these thoughts and work through them. I also apply some of the techniques I learnt in therapy on a weekly basis in order to check-in with myself on a more general level. Overall, it has made me a happier lighter person and my relationship with my partner has improved dramatically.
I truly feel elements of my relationship have been repaired where I never thought they would. I have even applied some of my therapy techniques at home and it has been helpful for my partner too.
I cannot express enough how important I think the work that Mothers for Mothers do is. From the weekly calls, which for certain people at particular times, will genuinely be lifesaving. All the way through the full blown therapy which has been an incredible opportunity for me. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.
My plans are to enjoy life as it is and keep using the tools I’ve been taught when things get tough and also to help me answer questions about my potential future. Like the biggest question – Do I do
it all again?! It definitely won’t be my last experience of therapy either. I think there’s always more work to be done.
Without MfM In periods of hard times my life would be: Draining. Angry. Argumentative. Volatile. Resentful. Even hateful. And probably quite sad.”
Send Client Story
“My Home visiting had stopped in the summer and I found it beneficial. I thought I was coping but later in the year, my mental health declined significantly. I contacted the GP and my medication was increased to the maximum dose. I need help to build my confidence and help with anxiety. I was also struggling to support my child who was struggling with their emotions and communication at home and nursery. I reached out to my community nursery nurse who contacted Mothers for Mothers again. The SEND support worker reached out and contacted me and listened about my concerns about my child’s speech developments. She created visuals to support their communication and emotional regulation at home such as a feelings board. She provided me with questions to ask the nursery regarding my child’s provision such as asking to see their support plan and asking to see their review of provisions. She was someone for me to talk to about what nursery was suggesting and would find examples of the suggestions Speech and Language were making. She found me examples of 2 key word instructions and activities I could do at home to support that. She provides me with almost weekly check ins either virtually or in person and has also been able to make referrals to baby bank for clothes and nappies. Having someone to talk to has been a massive help. If that help wasn’t there, I don’t know where I would been, they are fantastic. I now better understand the needs of my child and with the help from the SEND support and support from nursery and speech and language, I can try and meet their needs at home. If not, I feel more able to access other services regarding the needs of my child’s needs. I feel M4M care about my wellbeing and I am more hopeful about the future. As a result of Mothers for Mothers, I know more about what I need in my life to be well and what works for me. I am more confident in accessing support from other services and if not, I know I can ask the SEND support worker and show can signpost me especially for SEND. I know feel more confident and positive about parenting my child. I better understand their needs and can see their behaviour is them trying to tell me what they need. The bond between me and my child has definitely improved. It’s nice to know there are people who understand me and listen and care. I am still receiving support from the SEND support worker but I am more confident in knowing what I need to do to support my child and ask for support from nursery. I am already seeing improvements in my child’s speech. We are now on the Autism pathway and I know she will support me with that as she’s been on it too. Without Mothers for Mothers service I’d be lost.”
Antenatal and Wellbeing in Pregnancy Group
“A first came to Antenatal Group via the helpline and was struggling with isolation, anxiety and her ADHD diagnosis. Her family were not in Bristol and her relationship with the baby’s father had broken down – he was unsupportive of the pregnancy and was offering no support to A. She had struggled to access the group at first, as A puts it, ‘it was not part of my routine’ (an important part of her coping strategy for the ADHD diagnosis) but as soon as she did start her attendances were regular. This was A’s first baby and she was in her third trimester when she came to group.
A says, ‘I was struggling with high levels of anxiety, I was scared about how things would be after birth, how I would cope alone as a single mother’
A, ‘It was good to have other people to talk too. Hearing other people’s worries and the similar situations that we were in. We might not have been the same but we were all anxious or low. There was a lot of helpful information – I found the B.R.A.I.N tool particularly helpful – it helped me make decisions before and during labour. It was good hearing about ‘K’s ‘almost c section! I thought of ‘K’ as I was going into hospital! It was good to hear other people’s experiences of birth. I was open to all types of birth, but I was worried about the medical interventions, so it was great to get more information and real-life experience.
The information was helpful when I came under a lot of pressure from medical consultants. According to them I was ‘’piling up risk factors for stillbirth’’ which was a very unpleasant thing to be told especially when anxious. The information and support I had received from Mothers for Mothers helped me to view the situation differently.
After I went in for an induction (A went over 41 weeks gestation) I had the pessary and I wanted to go to the midwifery lead unit and the Consultant (who refused) said, ‘we all have that dream of a perfect birth, the intact perineum and beathing our babies out’ (but that it was just a dream) – it was demoralising and not what I was thinking about at all. The antenatal group and the support from Mothers for Mothers has been the opposite of that.
A, ‘There was a reduction in my anxiety and that was helpful’
‘We went through the B.R.A.I.N tool and that was really useful’
‘It was really useful for planning and processing what I was going through’
A Says, ‘family relationships have flipped slightly since the baby arrived my mother and the baby’s father have really stepped up having been so distant during pregnancy. They are both giving me confidence in my parenting and helping me look to the positives.
I think I am feeling a lot better than I was during pregnancy. I am aware of the babymoon phase and that this might be coming to an end!
A Says, ‘It was really helpful to get a bit of 1-1 support from Mothers for Mothers when I had been told to go in for assessment, my blood pressure was up and there was concern over the size of baby. We talked through all of my options. She ‘talked me round my house’ as I packed for the hospital, reminding me that I could take anything that made me feel better (including an important necklace). It really calmed me down and I was able to talk it all through.
A, ‘I want to go back to gym, and in the end – the climbing wall! I find that moving and being active is the best way to cope and improve my mental health. Pregnancy meant that a lot of this stopped and it had an effect. I want to get back to that when I feel ready and when I feel more confident to put my baby down’ ‘I want to go out and go to groups when I feel ready’
Without Mothers for Mothers A says, ‘I would have stayed in the anxious state. I would have felt more alone. I would have lacked the skills I learnt during the group’”
Peer Support Groups Client Story
“Before I attended the peer support group I was struggling with relationship with partner (recovering alcoholic), feeling anxious about bonding with my baby and whether I was doing the right thing. As well as depression. I came to the support groups which made a huge difference. Meeting others like myself and kind, compassionate staff. It was a great positive start to the week. I has helped me to become so much more confident in myself and my relationship with my son. I am able to go places with him now on my own. The relationship between me and my partner is better and my relationship with my son is much more relaxed. MfM is such a wonderful caring team that have supported me through so much already. I still attend the groups and hope to as long as I can. I feel more positive about the future now. Thinking about work and not dreading it like I used to. Without MfM life would not have been good. I would have remained very isolated and not wanted to go out of the house.”
Home Visiting Client Story
“I had recently given birth to my second son and this brought up trauma from my first birth plus guilt. I felt that having my second child impacted my bond with my first even more because the overall experience of birth plus those first few weeks/months was wildly different this time around (in a good way). I needed help processing this as all I knew was that something felt “off”. As my bond with my second child was growing, I was struggling with my relationship with my first.
It was invaluable being able to go to a group [straight away and feel included and heard. That gave me a sense of empowerment very quickly and that helped to turn things around. Part of the problem was that I felt isolated and on my own. It was also great that the Home Visitor was able to visit and we could talk more alongside the group sessions. The ‘lived experience’ aspect was very important because it felt as if I was speaking to someone who understood where I was at that point in time.
She also helped to put me on the right track for the Birth Reflections service which involved a call with a midwife and a breakdown of my first birth. This has also been helpful and has answered some questions that were outstanding for a long time.
I still have difficult days but on those days I celebrate the small wins and try not to expect too much. I am more confident and have greater patience when being out and about with both of the boys. I have started to take them on trips a little further than the local area for fun, rather than just for necessity of running errands. This in turn is helping the bond between us.
Our relationship has improved because communication between me and my husband has got better. I make sure that I reach out to him when things are tough and ask him to help. I also feel that it has made me more aware of when he needs extra support. This means that the boys are also benefiting. In terms of my family, I am more confident to speak when I need their help but that part has not always been easy. This is still work in progress.
I am currently waiting to start counselling/therapy through Mothers for Mothers but through the group sessions/visits I feel like I have already made progress. Being able to discuss things openly and make sense of my experience with someone that has gone through a similar thing has helped hugely.
I am about to finish my maternity leave and will shortly be returning to work which I am looking forward to.
I was feeling very low and isolated before I started attending Mothers for Mothers group sessions. I had been waiting for counselling from another organisation and I had investigated a few other avenues but these unfortunately did not work out so by this point, I was ready to give up. I am glad that the service was available because I felt like my mental health was going downhill quickly but once I started attending the group sessions, it improved just as rapidly.”