They come in all ages and sizes and have one thing in common – they all need cuddles.
A weekly support group for mothers with postnatal depression and anxiety urgently needs volunteers to help look after the group’s babies and toddlers.
Postpartum Rallying facilitator Tatiana Ceban, a counsellor who specialises in reproductive and perinatal mental health, says this is the first time in four years running the course she has had a shortage of childminders.
The success of the course relies on volunteers to care for the children, giving mothers a chance to get well, Tatiana says.
“It is extremely important to give mums time away from baby, otherwise mum cannot focus and cannot get well.
“Childminders are crucial for this group, because many of the women have no family, friends or trusted babysitter in Marlborough.”
Isolation is one of the main causes of postnatal depression and anxiety, Tatiana says.
In China the mother’s family moves in for 40 days to help cook, clean and take care of them, giving the mother a chance to recover and really bond with her new baby.
“Only in western society do we expect mothers to look after a baby all alone, many woman in the group have no one and this is their first opportunity to meet other mums and share their experience,” Tatiana says.
“Many of the women continue to stay in touch after the course, and have gone on to develop great relationships.”
On the flipside, childminders are often retired women who may be feeling a bit lonely or isolated themselves, Tatiana says.
“We have a big retired population in Marlborough, and as people get older they’re often not as engaged in society and their family may be living elsewhere.
“Intergenerational engagement is so important in society, it is known to prevent isolation and loneliness in adults – who doesn’t smile when they see a baby!”
Baby cuddle experts are needed from 9.30-11.30am every Wednesday.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer childminder, please contact Tatiana via email: [email protected] or phone: 0279019807.
Anyone with postnatal depression or anxiety can register for the free course.
Participants can self-refer or get referrals from their GP, midwife, Plunket, Maataa Waka, Te Piki Oranga or any other public health nurse.