Mums, you have just given birth – your baby was premature and, although healthy and happy, you walk away from the hospital and go about your new life at home only to discover things may not all be as easy as you first thought. As you enter the supermarket some people, without meaning any ill-harm, pass comment saying how small your newborn is, how tiny he or she looks laying there in the pushchair. Dads you stand watching and listening not sure yourself how to take on comments. But soon these experiences start to put you off going to the supermarket with your new baby, who you really wanted to tell the world about. And very quickly you may become isolated.
But what if there was a group out there, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, or Stoke-on-Trent which knew specifically all about what you were feeling, and knew all about the experiences you face as a mum or dad with a premature baby, or a baby who has been ill after birth, and could offer you the support you needed.
Well, there is – thanks to Kerri Marsh who founded the North Staffordshire Parents Support Group.
With a nursing background, Kerri had been training for a neonatal massage and parent facilitator role in January 2017 when she discovered no specific support groups existed for parents of premature babies or babies who had been ill after birth.
“After doing my training I noticed there wasn’t nothing out there specifically for mums, or dads, who had premature babies,” said Kerri.
“But the statistics of families suffering with post natal depression and the stress are horrendous, so I said something needed to be done.”
After months of hard work mum of two Kerri, created the North Staffordshire Parent Group which now meets once a month.
“There was nothing really specific to help with premature babies in this area,” added Kerri.
“I had to do a lot of research on how to form a group like this and had to apply for grants, which I had never done before, but all of the hard work has definitely been worth it.”
Kerri held her first group session in September and has been delighted with the interest from parents who want to share their experiences.
She adds:“I have had people coming in and they really needed this group. People have been quite open and the things which have been discussed have been incredible really.
“I genuinely don’t know what some of them would have done without this group. Some have recognised they might need more help and support which has been amazing. And they can be given direction on where to receive more help if they want to from coming to the group.
“People have been really honest and that’s important. I also think it has been a lifeline for two mums already definitely. They have somewhere where they can come now and meet others – it’s friendly and it’s like their own hub.”
Kerri also stresses the group is very friendly, relaxed, informal and confidential.
The North Staffordshire Parents Support Group meet the first Wednesday of each month at Newcastle Children’s Centre, Knutton 10am – 11:30am, and every third Tuesday of the month at Biddulph Children’s Centre, Biddulph 1:15pm-2:45pm.
For more information contact Kerri directly on 07785787683 or on Facebook @NorthStaffordshirePSG