Your Stories

Victoria’s story

A surprise conception, my young age, moving to a new area away from friends and family and a long traumatic birth led to huge issues for me after childbirth. I had never experienced any form of mental health issue and suddenly found myself in an extremely dark place feeling unable to cope, leave the house or accept my new life as a mum.

I felt a constant overwhelming feeling of dread and thoughts that I had “ruined my life beyond repair” . These thoughts haunted me to the point that I felt the only way to resolve my situation was to end my life.

I did not want to engage in any sort of mother and toddler groups because frankly…I didn’t want to be a mum. What I did know is that I was isolated, lonely and needed to take steps to get better.

My health visitor recommended ‘Smile Group’ to me, as a group that is set up specifically for parents who are struggling with post-natal issues. ‘wow’ I thought… ‘I can’t believe that exists!’. I thought because I didn’t fit the super mum stereotype of going to mother and baby groups 3x a week and singing ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ in a circle that frankly I was excluded from ‘mum’ life. For the first time, I felt excited to leave the house, with my baby and know from the outset I wasn’t the only one struggling.

I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I came to realise you can take from the Smile Group whatever you need; I put this down to the fact the group was set up and ran by women who have been through similar issues. The comfort of being in the presence of others you know are having similar feelings was instant relief. If you want to go and simply chat with other mums about ‘mum’ things and forget your feelings… you can. If you need to chat about your issues and have a cry with the group leaders…you can. If you need a break and want someone else to play with your baby for a bit without fear of judgement…they will.

I loved that the group had parent focused elements, I made a stress ball which was the first activity I had done for myself in months and I was taught relaxation and mindfulness techniques which I use to this day! For me, Smile Group was a turning point as it offered something regular for me to leave the house for that was beneficial to both myself and my baby, it gave me comfort to know that I wasn’t alone and genuinely felt like a safe space to not harbour guilt about my feelings, even though I visited the group over a short period of time, it was a key stepping stone in my journey to getting better.

What Smile Group offers is wonderful, unique and incredibly important. Many families will face issues during pregnancy and in the early stages of parenthood and the support they offer is invaluable.

Thank you Smile Group xxx Victoria, Sandbach

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