To the person who decided to close the Children Centres | Blog

When Pickle was born I knew no other Mummies that were around the same age as me in my local area. None of my friends had babies and for the first couple of weeks after pickle was born I relied on the Baby Centre forums for comfort and support. Of course I had my Mum and hubby and my family but there is something so different about having people in your life who are going through the same things as you. It makes you feel more normal but I didn't have that unless I went online. That was until I went along to my local children's centre to get pickle weighed when he was four weeks old.

I remember it so clearly. I was sitting down with pickle snuggled up on my lap when a lady came and sat down next to me. I thought I recognised her but I wasn't sure. He got her baby out of his car seat and I could see he looked about the same age as Pickle and after a couple of moments I plucked up the courage to ask 'Awww...how old is he?' and that was the ice breaker we needed to start chatting. It turned out that this lovely mummy lived just down the road from me and we recognised each other as we had seen each other in passing. We exchanged numbers and agreed to go for a coffee at some point to chat. It turned out that we got on like a house on fire and whilst we were both on maternity leave we met up once a week at our local children's centre for a stay and play group and that group honestly became like weekly respite (but more on that later). Almost 3 years later and this lady is now one of my closest friends who I see on a weekly basis and someone who I care about very much. Our children get on brilliantly as do our husbands and I couldn't imagine her not being in my life. If it hadn't have been for the children's centre then she may not have been...seer where I am going with this??

The weekly stay and play group we went to at our local children's centre was such an important part of mine and Pickles life especially whilst I was on maternity leave. It didn't matter how tough the week had been or what had being going on I could go to the group on a Friday and know that for 2 hours I would be able to have a coffee and whinge to my hearts content about how hard parenting can be sometimes because all of the ladies there were going through the same thing. Teething...tantrums...sleepless nights...weaning...you name it. It made me feel normal and made me realise that I wasn't on my own which is so so important as being a new Mum can be so isolating and lonely at times.

This group also helped me to make friends that I now considered to be my closest friends. I honestly believe that without the children's centre I wouldn't have met two amazing ladies who I now see on a weekly basis and speak to numerous times a week. Our families are all friends and we are all even going on holiday next year together. We all have children the same age and if one of us is having a really tough time with something we stick whatever is going on in our WhatsApp group and I GARENTEE you that one of them (at least) is going through or has gone through the same thing so has some advice. These friends make me feel normal and reassure me that all the little things that I would normally worry about are actually totally normal too.

What's the point of this post? Well, in my local area so many children's centres have been shut down. They have been privatised, their services been reduced and their staff made redundant. This means that there is going to be a whole generation of new Mums out there who don't get the same opportunity as me to make friends and socialise with others Mums and that makes me so sad. The services that these children's centre's offer are so important and valuable and it feels like they have just been brushed aside. Without the children's centre I wouldn't have met my friends and I would have had a pretty lonely 9 months on maternity leave which would have definitely taken a toll on my mental health. PND is so common these days and I think that groups like the one I went to can help woman to feel so much better about themselves and their situation because they find that they are not alone.

So....to whoever thought it would be a good idea to shut down children's centres and reduce their services...You sir are a knob!!

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