Today, we have a guest post from Cat Phipps, who has been a visitor to the café since it first opened. We are very grateful to her for sharing her writing with us.
The Motherkind Café was brand new when I was a new mum. I went along on the first day it opened when my baby was 5 months old. I had seen the group advertised on Facebook for new mums who were struggling with their mental health and thought that might be me, but I wasn’t sure if I had struggled enough – I hadn’t been officially diagnosed with anything. I was just making my first steps at that point to seeking the support I felt I needed. I wasn’t the only one there that day who had thought they didn’t know if they were struggling enough, which was reassuring, and we needn’t have worried as the café was a supportive space for everyone who walked through its doors.
As I attended over the weeks and months I grew to really like the vibe at The Motherkind Café. It was relaxed and there were many friendly faces I came to recognise among the peer supporters and the people attending even if we didn’t always get to talk to one another. I loved the circle discussions as they were so honest and often very funny. I found the stilted chat at other baby groups I went to boring, but Motherkind was somewhere you could actually talk about the things that had been going on, about you, not just your baby, and that was important.
Often I would go to Motherkind when I had had a bad week – an argument with my partner, a parenting mishap, a generally crap time – and I cried on the way there I think more than once (and when I was actually there…). So I feel that the Motherkind team never saw me the way I would have wanted to present myself to others. But that was the point – you can be real there. I was always welcomed and had a cup of tea made for me, and a chat, and it made all the difference.
I went for a few months before I really opened up about what had happened to me and its effect on my mental health after pregnancy and I wasn’t rushed into this conversation. I realised I just came out with it when I was ready to, and the Motherkind peer supporter I spoke to was so brilliant. I really appreciated how she remembered this conversation weeks and months later and continued to check in with me about it. I was touched by this as I thought she would see so many people, but it really made me feel cared for. The peer supporters are all thoroughly lovely. I can’t wait to walk in again soon and pick up where we left off.