I came to a new town with my husband two years previous to having my first daughter at the age of 22. Even though I had a job I didn’t know many people.
I was very happy about being pregnant and was feeling optimistic about the future and looking forward to my baby being born.
In the moments soon after the birth of my daughter I knew that something wasn’t quite right. I didn’t have that immediate rush of love and bond that I thought I would.
The days following I was crying all the time, I was finding it really hard to cope and I was at the lowest point of my life, screaming out for help. My health visitor advised me to go to the doctor and she also gave me a leaflet about my local Children’s Centres. The doctor prescribed me anti depressants and also suggested I go to the Children’s Centre.
A lovely nursery nurse came to see me at home to support me breastfeeding my daughter. I am really glad that I continued to breastfeed her whilst I was in such a bad place. The nursery nurse told me about a breastfeeding group and invited me along.
So along I went to my first ever group, I was very nervous, but did it. It was ok. I continued to go and then ventured to some other groups as my confidence grew bit by bit.
By attending a Home Start group once a week, breastfeeding, taking my anti depressants and attending other sure start groups and making friends my post natal depression soon settled down and I was able to bond with my baby.
I started to attend the Parent Forum meetings which I later became to chair. I did my Sure Start volunteer training and also became a Breast Feeding Network helper.
I then became pregnant with my second daughter who came two years later. I did experience periods of low mood during pregnancy but by having the support of trained staff and attending groups I was able to cope much better.
I have since campaigned to protect our Children’s Centres as I feel so passionate about them. I am living proof that they work and so are my children.
The difference that Sure Start as a whole has made to me and my family is unbelievable.
From mixing with other people from all different backgrounds and doing many different activities my daughters have become sociable and confident little people. Who are most definitely school ready. I have achieved many different qualifications and my own confidence has grown so much.
If someone had told me in my darkest hour that I would be standing on a wall in the city centre declaring my love of Sure Start to fellow protesters, making a deputation to the council, going up to London to meet with other Sure Start campaigners from across the country and being on national radio I would have said you were having a laugh.
Sure Start is amazing. I owe you everything. Thank you.