My first visit

Today, we have a guest post from Rachel, a member of our community. Many thanks to her for sharing her writing with us.

Although the café isn’t able to run as normal at the moment, from next Friday (16th April), we will be running fortnightly walks in Florence Park. All are welcome to attend; please check our Facebook page for details.

I have to admit, it took quite a bit of courage to come to my first ever Motherkind Café session. It was May 2019, and a couple of weeks before my second baby was born. I’d heard about The Motherkind Café on a local Facebook group a few months earlier and was interested, but a little unsure.

I guess I was worried in case my lack of diagnosis might mean I wasn’t considered “bad enough” to qualify for Motherkind. I had really struggled when I had my first baby, but I had never really admitted this to any friends or family. I had hidden a lot of my negative thoughts and feelings, especially from doctors and midwives, so I didn’t have a diagnosis of post-natal depression, and I wasn’t sure if what I had been through was normal or not.

I was also worried about coming along in case I would be forced to talk about my mental health in ways that might make me feel uncomfortable or exposed. Then there were the usual worries that come with showing up to any group for the first time. Would I be able to find it? Would I be able to park? Would anyone talk to me? What if I made a fool of myself?

What I felt very strongly though was that I needed some support because my second baby hadn’t even been born yet and I was already feeling fragile again. Memories of all the struggles I’d had the first time around had all come flooding back during my second pregnancy: the newborn health scare, a long battle to establish breastfeeding and overcome low supply, loneliness, inadequacy, difficulty bonding with my baby, and general low mood and lack of joy.

When I finally did pluck up the courage to make it to a session, I realised I need not have worried. I was immediately met by a friendly face and an offer of a cup of coffee. One of the peer supporters sat down and started chatting about “normal things,” and no one asked me to prove my status was “bad enough” to make me eligible to turn up.

In a matter of minutes though, I found myself pouring out all my fears and concerns about the impending birth of my second baby, and despite having definitely NOT planned to cry, I was soon in floods of tears. I am not usually a very tearful type of person, but it was such a relief to be able to talk openly about what had happened to me without fear of being judged, misunderstood, or told to cheer up and be thankful for what I had.

The Motherkind Café was one of the first places I went with my new baby when she was born, and it continued to be a support through the first year of her life and beyond when the Facebook group was established at the start of the pandemic. The welcome has always been the same: warm, friendly, funny, un-patronising, un-judgemental. It is such a relief to know that you can go there and talk about perfectly normal things, or go there and talk openly about hard you are finding it, and that either way there will be no judgement.

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