Published Monday, 15th February 2021
Our Helping Early approach is about working with our partners to ensure that children and families get the right kind of help and support, at the right time, within our community.
Below is a first-hand account of a woman from the Borough who attended one of our group sessions - all names used in the case study are pseudonyms.
“Hi my name is Louise, I am 31 years old and married with two children - a girl who is three years old and my boy who is now seven months old.
I started to feel ‘odd’ if you like, just after my son was born. Everyone around me told me it was my hormones; “I mean you did just have a baby” they would say. So, I put it down to that and believed them.
Three weeks later, I was still very tearful and I had noticed my boy was losing weight and he wasn’t suckling properly on his bottles. One particular evening he didn’t sleep at all, he was very hot and I’d finally said to my husband I am taking him to A&E, my fear of not being believed happened. My husband told me I was being silly, it was just his reflux. But I knew for sure it wasn’t. Anyway, at the hospital, he was admitted and he had viral meningitis.
While he was in hospital, I felt even more low I couldn’t sleep. I was so very anxious, I just assumed this feeling of guilt and uncertainty would pass.
As the weeks went on, I started to feel worse, like this utter tense feeling, the only way I could describe this was every time my boy cried, I would completely tense up, and instead of wanting to comfort him, I would get angry. I saw him as a chore, something that had to be done like washing or cleaning.
My daughter would ask me “mum, are you happy or angry?” Which shocked me - my 3-year-old waking up and asking me that; it filled me guilt. I thought to myself, my little girl should not be asking me that. In my opinion she should be able to look at her mummy and see that she was happy.
The fact that she had to ask only indicated that she didn’t know, her mum was blank and showed no emotion. Was I running on autopilot?
So, I booked myself a doctor's appointment. My doctor could see how very upset I was, he told me to speak to my health visitor, which I did and Sarah explained about this group that was going to be running from October, and asked if I would like to be considered; I of course said yes. I was apprehensive about what to expect but when Julie came round to introduce herself and explain how the group would work and the layout, I felt very comfortable and couldn’t wait to get myself feeling better - for my children’s sake first and foremost. And for myself and my husband.
I can safely say that the group has made me feel more like me again. On my first day I was welcomed by staff and the other mums; tea and biscuits were out. As we got started, hearing the other mums felt the same as myself and had older children, made me feel immediately relieved. I don’t know about most mums but I’d always put postnatal depression down to first-time mums. I was unaware it can affect mums at any time and after any birth. I will openly admit that I have postnatal depression and am a very strong believer in talking. We should be allowed to voice our opinions without judgement or the fear of upsetting anyone. And this group has allowed me to do so.
I have told all my family and friends about the group, they have all noticed such a difference in me and say that group is improving my life and how I feel.
I would like to remind all mums that parenting is widely varied and no way is the ‘RIGHT WAY’ - you do what works best for you and your family. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
More than 70% of our budget goes towards caring for Sutton’s vulnerable adults and children. Following COVID, more people are needing our help, while the cost of services is increasing.
Find out how we plan to protect those needing our care and support Sutton’s recovery over the next 12 months.
For more information on helping early and the 2020-23 strategy, visit the Early Help page.