Mum says Home-Start Glasgow South helped her live again

A Glasgow-based family support charity is encouraging mums to talk about their wellbeing and reach out for support if they need it, as part of a campaign for Maternal Mental Health Week (May 2-8).

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Laura Milby is encouraging other mums to ask for help if they are struggling

Home-Start Glasgow South is raising awareness among local mums to let them know that in addition to clinical services, vital peer support is available in their area through the charity’s network of confidential, trained volunteers.

Glasgow mum Laura Milby tells her story of how she was supported by Home-Start Glasgow South and is now an ambassador for the charity giving talks and encouraging other mums to seek support and break down the stigma of talking about our mental health.

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Laura (38) was the first woman in Scotland to have a liver transplant while pregnant with her second daughter Kate.

Sadly, baby Kate died at 37 days old in 2014. Two years later, Laura went on to have her second daughter Emma, now 5, a little sister for Sarah, now 12.

Throughout the emotional roller coaster of the toughest times of her life, sprinkled with joy and new hope, Home-Start Glasgow South was standing alongside Laura, her husband David and their girls with compassionate, non-judgemental support.

Laura said: “My eldest daughter Sarah was two years old when my health visitor first referred me to Home-Start as she could see I didn’t have support from a friendship group and I was suffering postnatal depression.

“At first it was the Mother’s Group. We’d all meet on a Friday for a cup of tea and a chat. The kids would be in the crèche which meant we could do activities like yoga, crafts, cooking, talks, courses, sewing. All sorts of things. It became an important part of my week and I looked forward to it.

“Having a volunteer was just what I needed to help motivate me to get out. She also helped me with housework. It was all done in a really nice friendly style. I looked forward to her coming.

“My volunteer is like a mum. We laugh, if I need a cuddle she is there, the kids love her. She is important to the whole family not just me. Home Start made a really big difference to all of our lives, not just me, but the children too. Throughout everything I’ve been through having Home-Start and my volunteer has helped me take each day at a time and see the positives rather than focus on the negatives.

“Home-Start helped me live again it’s been hugely difficult going through everything I did, but thank God I had Home-Start by my side.

"To mums struggling, I would say please ask for help and take it one day at a time. Stick with it. Change won’t happen overnight but having Home-Start support will make a difference. Home-Start is awesome.

“I want to break the stigma round mental health. I want to encourage other mums to open up and speak about it and get support. I felt totally isolated before Home-Start – yet thanks to them, just before my liver transplant, I met what is now my best friend in the Ladies Wellbeing Group. I am godmother to her daughter, and we are now so close we are just like sisters.”

Home-Start Glasgow South supports mums’ mental health with trained home-visiting volunteers and a range of activities, see – www.homestartglasgowsouth.org.uk/home-2/

Colette Boyle, director of Home-Start Glasgow South, said: “For Maternal Mental Health Week we are encouraging families to talk about their wellbeing and not be afraid to ask for help.

"There is still a real stigma around talking openly about parental mental health. We would love to encourage mums who are finding things difficult to take the brave decision to reach out for support.

"Parenting is hard. It can be wonderful but it can also be lonely and frustrating. That is why Home-Start West Berkshire is ready to stand alongside families when they need us most with compassionate, non-judgemental support.”