Katikati Advertiser

Group supports new mums

Mums4Mums charity provides practical, emotional and social support

- Www.mums4mums.org.nz

Looking after a new baby is a fulltime job with no days off and no instructio­n manual. Local charity Mums4Mums is working to ensure new mums don’t have to navigate these challenges alone. The maternal mental health initiative provides practical, emotional, and social support for new mums in their homes through a network of volunteers across the Western Bay of Plenty from Katikati to Pongakawa.

Mums4Mums relies on sponsorshi­p and grants from funders to continue its work supporting mums and babies and the charitable trust recently received $10,000 in funding from TECT towards its operating costs.

Founder of Mums4Mums CJ Dafoe says maternal mental health is a huge issue in New Zealand.

“We are facing a maternal mental health crisis. New Zealand’s suicide rate for pregnant and post-birth mums is seven times higher than the United Kingdom — that’s a staggering statistic.

“Mums4Mums isn’t about a group of women deciding it would be nice to cuddle babies. This is women responding to a crisis.”

Every mum’s needs are unique and support is tailored to the individual.

Volunteer activities can be as simple as having a chat over a cup of coffee or providing respite so mum can have a break.

“Many mums are overwhelme­d, exhausted, and dealing with loneliness,” says CJ.

“When a volunteer goes in, they go in as a woman or a fellow mum, bringing friendship, conversati­on, and assurance they’re doing a good job. It’s important for new mums to be able to share and talk about their experience­s; if they’re living in isolation, they don’t get that chance.”

Support, while freely available to all, is prioritise­d for mums of multiples, babies living with disabiliti­es or significan­t health challenges, and mums at risk of negative mental health outcomes due to exhaustion or social isolation.

Mums4Mums was inspired after a social worker approached CJ to support a migrant mum with premature twins. Rallying some friends, together they supported the family for five months, during which time more requests for help started rolling in and “the need became clear”.

Now, two and a half years later, Mums4Mums has supported nearly 200 families across the Western Bay of Plenty.

 ?? ?? Mums4Mums, founded by CJ Dafoe (front), provides practical, emotional and social support to new mums and babies.
Mums4Mums, founded by CJ Dafoe (front), provides practical, emotional and social support to new mums and babies.

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