Mums in Hull have been sharing their experiences of having a baby during the pandemic as part of a new campaign from Hull City Council that encourages women to connect with other mums to support their mental health and wellbeing.
Pregnant women have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus lockdown, with isolation and reduced access to maternity services and support networks leading to an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The mums feature in a new short film, discussing the challenges of parenting in lockdown and how they have forged connections to help them through a difficult year.
The film has been produced by Us Mums, a programme of exercise and wellbeing sessions commissioned by Hull City Council, as part of the ‘Us Mums Need’ campaign which encourages more pregnant women and new mums to get involved and connect with a community for mutual support and friendships.
Mother of one, Francesca, said: “I think it’s really important for mums to take time for themselves. It’s just a case of trying to remind yourself that your physical and mental health and wellbeing is just as much a priority as your baby’s is”.
An in-depth study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, surveyed 614 mothers who had a baby under 12 weeks old between 16 April and 15 May 2020. Researchers found that 43 per cent of the women met the criteria for depression, while 61 per cent met the criteria for anxiety.
Us Mums member, Sarah, said: “Time out for me and time to be me was really important for my wellness and for my mental health. Knowing they were giving me my strength back, my fitness back, I felt empowered to still do things that make me, me.”
Laila Lapse-Berga, healthy lifestyles practitioner at Hull City Council, said: “We understand that lockdowns have been really tough, especially if you’re going through the life changing experience of having a new baby.”
“At Us Mums, we give pregnant ladies and new mums the chance to connect with others going through similar experiences. There are a range of activities for pre and post-natal women to help them stay healthy and protect their mental wellbeing and we want to encourage more women in Hull to get the support they need.”
Through the campaign, the Us Mums team hope to inspire more women in Hull to improve their physical and mental wellbeing through the programme which is free to take part in while the sessions are online. The team are also looking to the future with hopes to resume group sessions with more opportunity for members to socialise as restrictions ease
You can find out more about Us Mums on their Facebook page.