NatChat July 2017


The July 2017 issue for Chester NCT branch. We look at Mental Health in pregnancy and in the postnatal period.

Your quarterly magazine for



* Editor’s Letter *

I can’t believe it’s finally summer! I don’t

know about you but it almost feels like it came

and went already…?

However, between this edition and the last

one we have had a couple of new groups start

up, we have lot of exciting things coming up

and we have been though maternal mental

health week.

Globally, maternal mental health issues are

said to affect 10% of pregnant women and

13% of women postnatally. However, due to

the stigma of admitting it, especially in

Britain, this number may be even higher.

In this issue we will be focusing on some of

the realities of maternal mental health, including

myths and facts, how to recognise it and

how to help.

Lastly, if you are finding yourself struggling

with mental health, we encourage you to

talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP and

find the support you need.



* In This Edition *

Page 6—Welcome to the Team

Page 10—Let’s Introduce…

Page 15—Bumps, Babies and Beyond…

Page 16—#hiddenhalf

Page 20—Lone Parent Article

Page 30—Post Natal Depression

Page 33—Mental Health Myths

Page 38—Craft Idea

Page 39—Family Meal Idea

Page 40—Baby First Aid

Page 42—Afterbirth Poem

Page 44—Breastfeeding Friendly Chester

Page 46—Photography Fundraiser



* Welcome to the Team *

Jen Whittle – Mum to a toddler and very

excited to be joint branch co-ordinator with

Ffion Dempster-Jones.

Ffion Dempster-Jones – Mum of 2 year old

girl and looking forward to being joint branch

co-ordinator with Jen Whittle

Liza Ebeck – Works part time as a veterinary

nurse, adjudicates between her two daughters

age 6 and 2, and enjoys reading the 2 pages of

her book before falling asleep. She is also our

First Aid Coordinator.

Lynne O'Neill – Ex-London accountant, now a

New to Chester mum taking on the Treasurer


Lisa Palfreman – A face most of you will

know already! Kiwi mum to two cheeky

tearaways and professional chatterbox is now

taking up PSC Link role and concentrating on

her new Uni course done with the NCT.


Vicky Brand – Mum to a lovely two year old

and recently started my own business for

toddlers. NCT were a great support to me in

the early days and I look forward to helping

keep the branch active.

Charlotte Curtis – Lucky Mum of three

energetic rascals taking on the joint

membership coordinator role.

Daniela Ida ZANDONÀ – Mom, of Italian

and Spanish origin, to little Clara. Recently

moved to the UK and fallen in love with

Chester. I enjoy reading and watching a good

series but I've discovered sleeping is more

valuable! I look forward to volunteering.

Rasa Ryoto – Mum to a nearly 4 year old

budding camera virtuoso. When passing by

hops in to help with nearly new sales.

Antonia Jones – Antonia is excited to be starting

the Lone Patent Group and hopes to find &

provide support to Lone Parent families.

Lucy McClean – Slightly hippy mum to an

21 month old preemie. In addition to the

newsletter editor role, I also co-host bumps

and babies and actively contribute.


* The Regional Team *

Hi, I'm Helen.

I'm the newsletter reader for the North West NCT Regional

Team. I have 3 kids, two daughters in high school and a son at

primary school. I've volunteered locally for NCT since

moving to Cheshire in 2004. I was Branch Coordinator of

Mid-Cheshire branch for 7 years before moving to the

regional team.

The regional team consists of Cath Auty - Regional

Coordinator, Nikki Leech and Helen Barrance - Area Links,

Kate Hodgkiss - Regional Fundraising Support and Helen

Lilley - Newsletter Reader.

The regional team work with branches to support them and

celebrate their successes. The team are the people who liaise

between branches and UK Office. We try to help branches

resolve any issues they have, and the newsletter reader

proofreads all the newsletters from all over the North West.

All of us have volunteered at Branch level, so we understand

the issues branches can face. We also have UKO staff support

from our Regional Teams Facilitator, Catherine Bartlett.



Contact Rachel to join the fun in our multi-award

winning, friendly classes - now in their tenth year in

Chester and Wirral.

Call Rachel Nightingale on 01244 372970 or visit 9

* Let’s Introduce... *

Cindy Dubussy-


What drew you to NCT in

the first place?

I started to get involved with

the NCT through the Nearly

New sales. I used to volunteer

some of my time for set

up or clear out. All volunteers

have access to the presale

shop (before the sales

opens to the public) and so

get the opportunity to snatch

a bargain before anyone


Give us a bit of background

on yourself.

I'm the Nearly New Sale coordinator

for Chester and I've

been volunteering for the

NCT for the last 5 years. My

role consists of organising and

running the nearly new sales

for the branch (the largest

fundraising events to support

new parents) twice a year. I

moved to Chester 14 years

ago from France. I work full

time as well as being a mum

to 2 beautiful girls, Scarlett, 5,

and Celeste, 2.

What made you decide to

become a volunteer?

The first time I signed up as a

volunteer it was to benefit

from the advantages of the

nearly new sales. I think nearly

new sales are such a great

idea. They really allows parents

to kit themselves out for

a fraction of the price. They

also help save all these baby

items going to landfill by giving

them a second life.

What has been your

experience of volunteering?

I got hooked straight away!


The atmosphere at the sale is

buzzing. I met some great

people, some fellow compatriots

from France and I loved

getting all these bargains.

What would you say to

someone thinking of


People always think that volunteering

will take over their

life or interfere with their

family time, but volunteering

doesn’t have to. You can get

involved as much or as little

as you want. You'll meet great

people and create some long

lasting relationships. It's also

very rewarding to give a helping

hand to new parents and

parents-to-be. I remember

how daunting it was to be a

new mum, and the strongest

network of support I had were

the friends I met through


What is the one thing you

want people to know about


People tend to associate NCT

with their antenatal classes

only. But seldom realise the

fantastic work the NCT does

for parents in the first 1000

days of their baby's life!

NCT is the reason you're entitled

to have a birth partner or

father present in the labour

room. NCT has also done a

lot of work to support mums

in Styal prison, refugees and

asylum seekers. And, more

closely to our hearts, NCT is

the number one reason new

mums are given the chance to

meet each other and build a

strong support network and

lasting friendships.

I'm looking to step down from

my role next year and it

would be great to see the

nearly new sales continue to

thrive with a new coordinator.

So if anyone is interested or

wants to find out about what it

involves please email - I'd

love to hear from you!







and Beyond!

Karen and Shema, both second

time mums, decided to set

up a new NCT group because

they both know how valuable

support and opportunities to

meet others are for new


After her son was

born, Shema started an online

group and organised some

baby charity events to give

something back and meet

other mums and dads.

Through this, she has made

lots of amazing friends.

Karen started attending

the Caffè Nero Bumps and

Babies when her first son was

still a bump, and continued

when he was born. She really

enjoyed the weekly meet-ups,

making some great friends

and helping out occasionally.

Shema introduced

Karen to the Russian Style

Crepe café, and together they

thought an Upton-based

Bumps and Babies group

would be welcomed by those

unable to get to the city

centre, as well as supporting

an independent business.

Oksana, who runs

the café, did a great job making

it baby and toddler friendly.

As well as the usual tea

and coffee, she provides great

soups, a selection of pancakes

and cakes, and does a special

children’s menu. She also

caters for most dietary

requirements such as dairyfree

and gluten-free, and if

she hasn't got anything

suitable, just ask and she will

make it!

The group takes place

every Monday throughout the

year, except Bank Holidays,

between 1-3pm. Feel free to

pop in and say hello - we look

forward to welcoming you!


It’s time to get postnatal mental illness out

of hiding

It’s common for new mothers to suffer from postnatal mental

illness, but only half receive the treatment they need. This can

be fixed with some simple and low-cost changes to our health


NCT surveyed 1,000 women who had recently had a

baby and found that half had had a mental health or emotional

problem postnatally or during pregnancy.

Of these women, nearly half hadn’t had their problem

identified by a health professional and hadn’t received any

help or treatment.

Many of these new mothers said they were too embarrassed

or afraid of judgement to seek help.

95% of mothers who had a mental health problem said


that this had an impact on their ability to cope as a mother or

on their family.

We think all new mothers with a mental health problem

should get the treatment or support they need. The first

step is making sure that they get the problem identified and

diagnosed by a health professional.

A simple low-cost solution

We’re demanding better six week postnatal check-ups so that

all new mothers with a mental health problem can access the

treatment available.

82% of new mothers we surveyed who had been treated

for a mental health problem said that the treatment had


Treatment can include counselling, medication, online

therapy or peer support. Sometimes, family support under the

watchful eye of a GP can be enough to get a woman through.

If you are worried about your emotional wellbeing, you

should talk to your GP, health visitor or midwife about how

you are feeling.

You can help

Please sign up to show your support for the campaign here


* Little Happy Things *

Since its beginnings in

2014, this little group

has been plodding on.

Almost all of our volunteers

have sat at that

long wooden table.

Many with a coffee or

hot chocolate covered in

whipped cream and sauce! Yum!

Karen and

Shema’s little

endeavor has

got off to a

flying start,

often bringing

in more than

ten parents at

a time. The afternoon group is a real asset to NCT and we are

proud to be a part of it!

We have been so excited to

introduce this new group and

get it off the ground!

Although we are in

need of a regular leader for

this group, it was host to

over ten parents in its first

day... And it was raining...

That is some dedicated rambling!

We love that the

group is rain or shine and we

love the make-do spirit!



* Becoming a Lone Parent *

By Antonia Jones

An Abusive Relationship

I belong to a minority of

women who become mothers

under abusive circumstances.

Thankfully for me that very

quickly meant I ended up with

no choice but to go it alone.

The birth of my beautiful

daughter, the most wonderful

experience of my life, is also

entangled with one of the

most painful and this is the

hardest thing for me to accept.

The man I called my

partner, who I planned a life

and a family with, who is the

father of my child, and who

was supposed to protect us,

betrayed our love and

trust; lied and gaslighted

his way through my pregnancy;

brought violence

into our home. I have

been left traumatised, angry,

confused, upset and

exhausted. I've learnt to

be strong, I am learning

to accept I can’t change

what has happened to me,

but I honestly don’t believe

I will ever get over


My daughter has three

precious step siblings, with

amazing mothers, who have

also raised their children

alongside him making their

lives more difficult. Who

have been in my shoes and

understood my pain. I am incredibly

grateful to have

women who have been so empathetic

in my life.

Human beings have an

awe-inspiring capacity to survive

and there is nothing on

this earth quite as powerful as

the strength to be found in a

mother who loves her baby

and wants to keep her baby

safe, well and happy.


The Turning Point

One positive of the

beginning of my journey

as a mother was

that, whilst pregnant, I

managed to turn my

life around. I put effort

in to keeping

healthy, I ate a wellbalanced

and varied

diet, I kept active and

attended a variety of

antenatal classes. I researched

and followed as many ways as

possible to keep my baby

strong and healthy and also

maintained a strong communication

with mental health

services due to historic mental

health issues.

Though I improved

my life in pregnancy, I was

still holding on to a poisonous

relationship. As I improved,

he and his treatment of me

deteriorated. Once I no longer

had his influence in my life I

began to truly recover.

I walked around for a

long time longingly watching

couples with their babies. I

think I held on to him for so

long because I was desperately

wishing he would realise

what he had. He never apologised.

People like him never


How I Live Now

Now my life is so full of love.

The love between my daughter

and I. I am blessed and

privileged to watch my

daughter flourish. I cherish

every step, every cuddle, every

loving glance, every giggle,

every bubble bath. I am so

proud that I live my life doing

my best for her, even though

its not easy alone. I sometimes

feel like I cannot fill the

gap he created. A gap for a

partner and father. I don’t

think that gap will ever be


I was okay, albeit

sad and stressed. My

daughter crawled in

the middle of the table,

smiling and giggling,

and the manager

of the social

services team pointed

and said to me,

“You see that?

That’s all you.”

Why I’m Starting

the Group

filled but I know now it is for

the best.

All parents will tell

you that having a baby is

challenging yet rewarding.

Well certainly for me, and for

most single parents, that’s


One of the proudest

moments that stands out for

me as a single mother is a

meeting I attended with social


They knew I had nobody

to help me with her and

that’s why she’s always in the

meetings with me. They had

really started to understand

that he was doing nothing,

nobody could even contact

him by this point. It was clear

So that’s me and my journey

to where I am now. And I’m

telling you this because I set

out to find a group for lone

parents in Chester and discovered

there wasn’t anything

available! So it’s my aim to

create this resource for other

mothers and any fathers out

there who feel they'd benefit

from the support of an NCT

Lone Parent Group.

My life has been

touched by a range of issues,

too many for this one article,

that many single parents will

have also had to face. We all

have our life stories about

how it came to be this way

and our unique journeys to

happiness and building a solid


home for our children. Going

through this, myself, has given

me the drive and passion to

provide support for lone parents.

I want the main focus

of writing this not to be how

hard it’s been for me, but to

spur on other lone parents to

know you can do it alone.

I'm excited for this

group to begin and as we

grow and get to know each

other, we can tailor each

group depending on the ideas

or choices that parents would

like to input. Perhaps even

extending the group to days

out, nights out, arrange talks

for legal and financial advice

and so on.

Details About the Group

The first group will be held on

Monday 24th July 2017 and

will begin at 10.00 to 12.30.

Wesley Church Centre

has a crèche that runs from 10

until 11.50 for children aged

18 months to 3 years old dependant

on being able to walk

steadily and at a cost of 3.50

per session payable for a term

of sessions and parents attending

the Lone Parent Group

will be offered this choice too.

There is also a small

play area with toys available

to the side of seating area

where the group will be held

should any parents have children

or babies that are too

young for the group or who

they wish to stay with.


Being a Lone Parent

is twice the work, twice the stress, and twice the tears but

also twice the hugs, twice the love & twice the pride!

The Wesley Centre

Mondays starting 24th July 10:30-12:30

The group is free!

May be a creche available for children over

18m for a small termly fee.




Exercise with baby……

This unique postnatal exercise & recovery

program is designed specifically for the

needs of new mummies.

What makes this program so special?

Baby is included through the whole program! Not only

do you get a thorough workout (don’t be fooled this

is serious exercise : ) but have fun bonding time with

Baby too!

They ease your body back into exercise initially ,

strengthening weakened areas and soothing aches

and pains– Then get you more fit and toned than

ever before!

With levels to suit both Mummy & Baby’s needs from

7 weeks to 17 months, It’s one of the most beneficial

classes you could attend with your little one.

Classes run throughout Cheshire, Wirral, Shropshire &

North wales, check out the website for more details.




NCT is here to support parents. We give them accurate,

impartial information so that they can decide what’s best

for their family, and we introduce them to a network of local

parents to gain practical and emotional support. We are

the UK’s largest parenting charity, and campaign as the

voice for parents on the issues they care about.

What Does NCT Mean

To Me?

NCT has been enormously

important to

me since becoming

a mum, especially

as I had few friends

in my local area, let

alone ones with

small kids!

-Jo, Facebook



is golden

NCT was/is a valuable

resource for

my husband and I

to meet new parents

that were

about to begin the

journey of childbirth


-Morgan, Facebook

For just £48 a year you

can become part of NCT

members club where you

can save and get

discounts on eating out,

going to the cinema and

cashback on groceries,

gardening supplies and

fashion spends as well as

a tonne of other benefits

within NCT.

In turn, your money

allows us to invest in

events, services and

support for not only you

but others, too.

Keep Calm and Join NCT!


A Little Bit Crafty UK

We are a family run business based in

Cheshire that specialises in engraved gift

and keepsakes. Our products include:-

Charms (will fit Pandora bracelets)




Bottle Openers


and much more….

You can add your own:-


Hand and Footprints

Childs Drawing


Text and Symbols

Our products are perfect for any Occasion,

for example:-

New Arrivals


Wedding & Anniversaries

Wedding Favours


Memorial Keepsakes

Teachers Gifts

Mothers and Fathers Day


* Post Natal Depression *

By Viki Seed — Maternity Consultant

You have been waiting for

months for the moment to arrive

when you can hold your

baby in your arms. You could

not be happier now that he is

here. Yet you feel like hiding

in a dark room on your own.

You feel guilty feeling this

way. Don’t worry, it is all perfectly


1 in 10 women are diagnosed

with Postnatal Depression, but

studies suggest the number

may be as high as 1 in 4. The

hormonal changes after childbirth

and the demands of a

new baby are the main causes

of PND.

What to look out for:

· Feeling tearful, low or upset

for no reason

· Loss of appetite

· You can’t enjoy yourself

or your baby

· Sleep problems. Whilst

having a new-born already

means you are not getting

much sleep, if you have

PND you might find you

can’t sleep even when baby


· Anxiety

· There can be many other

symptoms, so if you experience

anything unusual

for you, do talk to your

GP about it.

Is there any way of preventing


Unfortunately no, but having

a good support network and

asking for help (and accepting

help!) when you need it can

help. Don’t try to do everything

alone. You have just had

a baby and your body is exhausted

from pregnancy and

childbirth. You are not expected

to have the perfect

house, a freshly cooked meal

on the table, a peacefully

sleeping baby and look perfect.

As much as everyone has

tried and would love to have it

all, we are not superhuman.

What to do if you suspect

you have PND?

First of all, you need to talk

about it. Talk to your midwife,

health visitor or GP


about how you are feeling. Don’t worry, you are not a bad

mother and no one will take your baby away from you. Don’t

forget, PND is an illness and it needs to be treated. You need

to talk to your partner too. He might be feeling very insecure

and concerned for you and the baby. Getting him involved

will relieve both of you and strengthen the bond as a family.

As hard as it is, you need to make sure you eat well, drink

plenty of water and catch as much sleep as you can whilst baby

is sleeping. The housework will wait for you.

How is PND treated?

Depending on your needs, you might be offered counselling

and/or antidepressants. Talking to an expert is often enough.

They will arm you with confidence, restore your self-esteem,

listen and not judge. Practical help to build your confidence

and your bond with your baby can also be very beneficial.

You can call upon experts yourself if you prefer, but you must

talk to someone. Talking antidepressant medication is another

form of treatment. You might have to take it for a good few

months, but don’t worry, it is not for the rest of your life.

Medication can give you the strength to get up in the morning,

will allow you more sleep and will help to keep your emotions

more balanced.

What happens if you don’t get help?

PND can last for years after having given birth, or even come

up at any time in the first year. In the most severe cases PND

can turn into Post Natal Psychosis, which can put both you

and your baby at risk.

It is imperative you talk about your feelings. Do tell your

health visitor or GP, talk to your partner and accept help. It is

an illness that will go away with treatment, but you can’t be

expected to do it all alone. Many of us have suffered from

PND: you are not alone. Recognising it and asking for help is

the bravest thing you can do for yourself, your partner and

your wonderful little bundle.



07919 117 412

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began to flourish in classes”

Parent testimonials

An innovative new toddler group that

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helps prepare little learners for school

provides a stimulating space for parents

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St. Peter’s Centre, Heswall

Monday mornings

Upton Community Hall, Chester

Wednesday mornings

Cuddington & Sandiway Village Hall

Friday mornings


Book online

* Mental Health Myths *

Myth #1: Pregnancy is a

happy time; pregnant women

don’t get depressed

Pregnancy is a happy time but

depression and anxiety are

common mental health issues

during pregnancy and after

birth. Pregnancy is generally

seen as a time of happiness

and excitement. Depression

doesn't always manifest itself

in the emotion of sadness; it

can also present itself through

feeling an utter lack of motivation

or worthless.

Be open about how

you’re feeling with your GP,

partner, friends and/or family;

it’s so important not to hide

your emotions if you are feeling

low or struggling.

Myth #2: It’s just the ‘baby

blues’, I’m fine

It could be the ‘baby blues’,

which can leave some mums

feeling emotional, irritable,

low and/or tearful within the

first few days or weeks after

giving birth but, if symptoms

persist or worsen, begin at a

later stage, or even in pregnancy,

it can be something

more serious, such as antenatal

depression (AND), postnatal

depression (PND) or posttraumatic

stress disorder

(PTSD). There’s a danger this

can be labelled as the ‘baby

blues’, and therefore many

mums don’t seek help.

We are about encouraging

parents to talk more

openly about maternal mental

health, to avoid the mistake of

dismissing potentially serious

mental health issues in themselves,

friends or family, and

to seek help.

Myth #3: If I’m diagnosed

with a mental health issue,

my baby will be taken away

from me

This is a huge misconception

that prevents many new mums

from seeking help sooner.

When diagnosed with a mental

health issue like PND,

your GP will be focussed on

getting you better by offering

medication and/or counselling.

The aim of healthcare

professionals is to keep families

together. Perinatal mental


health specialists will also often

work with mums to help

with bonding and attachment.

Myth #4: If I tell anyone

about my mental health

worries, they will think I’m

a failure or a bad parent or

that I don’t love my baby

Having a mental health issue

does not make you a bad parent

or a failure. Adjusting to

being a new parent can be an

emotional and difficult time,

especially if you develop depression

or anxiety.

Mums and dads suffering

with mental health worries

often feel a strong bond

and connection with their baby,

despite their low mood or

anxiety. For others, ongoing

untreated depression can

make it hard to emotionally

connect. Taking the step to

seek help is the best and bravest

thing you can do.

Myth #5: Mental health

problems only affect certain


Mental health problems can

affect anyone regardless of

age, social background or relationship

status but there are

parents who are at a higher

risk of certain mental health

issues like PND, such as

younger mothers or those with

a history of mental illness. If

you don’t feel ‘right’ within

yourself talk to someone and/

or seek help from a professional.

Myth #6: I will be forced to

take medication

You won’t be forced to take

medication, such as antidepressants,

when diagnosed

with a mental health issue but

it may help you in the short

term while you find long-term

techniques to help boost your

mood. Medication can be useful

in helping you feel that bit

better and then enable you to

do other things to aid your

recovery, such as exercise,

meeting other parents or


Most medication is

prescribed for a six-month

period and this may be all that

you need in order to help your

recovery; but you can take

them for longer if you need

to. Always seek advice from


your GP before stopping or

changing any medication as

it’s important to do this slowly

and in the recommended


Some mums also fear

they may become addicted to

medication or, if they’re

breastfeeding or pregnant,

believe they cannot take anything

because it might harm

their baby. However, certain

anti-depressants are an option

during pregnancy and while

breastfeeding so talk to your

GP to find out more.

Myth #7: I’m the only one

who feels this way

According to our research,

half of new mothers are concerned

about their mental

health and many are suffering

in silence, so you are most

definitely not alone. It can

feel incredibly isolating when

you suffer with a mental

health illness so it’s important

to tell someone how you’re

feeling and seek professional

help as soon as you can. The

sooner you seek help the

quicker you will find a way to

feel better.

Attending a support

group can help alleviate the

isolation that you feel, simply

talking to others who have

been through it or are in a

similar situation will help you

feel less alone and more understood.

It is important

though to check that these

groups are properly safeguarded

with well-trained

staff and volunteers who have

access to clinical supervision

and support for themselves.

Myth #8: Only mums suffer

from mental health issues

like postnatal depression

Men can suffer from mental

health problems such as PND

or PTSD too. Research from

NCT found that more than 1

in 3 new fathers (38%) are

concerned about their mental

health. In general, studies

have shown that one in 10

dads has PND and fathers also

appear to be more likely to

suffer from depression three

to six months after their baby

is born than at any other time.

In addition, following a traumatic

birth, fathers can be

more prone to PTSD than

mothers because they witness

the trauma first-hand and can


feel so helpless during the experience.

Mental health problems

can affect mums and

dads so talking to each other,

and also friends and family, is

so important.

Myth #9: There’s nothing I

can do to help a parent suffering

with mental health


Often a friend, family member

or colleague is the first to

notice when something isn’t

right. Just being there, listening

and providing nonjudgemental

emotional and

practical support can help.

Gently encouraging them to

speak to their GP, midwife or

health visitor is also important.

You can also access

reliable information about antenatal

and postnatal mental

illness (examples below), as

this might help you understand

how you can help and

make a difference.

Myth #10: I’m never going

to feel better

Recovering from a mental

health problem takes time; it’s

not something you can simply

‘snap out of’. Here are a few

tips that may help you on the

road to recovery:

· Find what works for you

whether it’s exercise,

mindfulness, medication,

attending support groups

or therapy like counselling

or cognitive behavioural

therapy (CBT).

· Practise self-care: it could

be just a few minutes each

day to do something nice

just for you, looking after

yourself is really important.

· Sleep! This can be incredibly

difficult when you

have a baby but sleep is so


· Talk to other parents –

this could be through an

online support group, attending

a peer support

group or local NCT

branch events.


It can be difficult to talk about

mental health issues during

pregnancy or in the early

weeks and months of

parenthood but it's so important

to seek help if you

need it. Share how you're feeling

- you are not alone.



* Crafty Crafts *

It’s a String Fling Thing


· String, Yarn or Wool

· Paint in a Bowl - Acrylic

paint works well

· Paper or Card

· Heavy Book

We experimented after we got

the hang of it - two different

coloured strings and patterns.

We found dark colours work

better then light colours. Glitter

paint sadly didn’t add anything

to the design. It was a

fun, messy morning. The surprise

and excitement with each

revealing, was just magical.


1. Cut a piece of string (between 20

and 40cms) and add it to the bowl

of paint making sure it’s covered.

2. Lift the string out of the paint,

running your thumb and forefinger

along the length of the string to

remove excess paint (very important


3. Arrange your paint-covered string

on a sheet of paper or card with

one end of the string reaching off

the edge. Wash and dry your hands

at this point.

4. Cover with a 2 nd sheet of paper

and place the heavy book on top

and slowly pull the string out from

between the two sheets of paper.

5. Remove the weigh and slowly peel

back the top sheet of paper revealing

the design.


* Family Dinner Recipe *

Creamy “Hidden Vegetables” Sauce


· 200g Assorted Vegetables of

Choice - we picked carrots,

parsnips, mushrooms, swede

and onion

· 100g tinned tomatoes

· Tomato Puree

· A Tablespoon of Mascarpone


· Fresh or Dried Pasta

· Cheese for grating on top -



1. Cook vegetables until soft then

blend together until smooth in


2. All the mascarpone, tomato

puree and any seasonings you

like to add like salt/pepper/

basil/rosemary and blend again.

3. Boil the pasta until soft, drain

and add the sauce - serve with a

little grated cheese and a basil

leaf to garnish!

This recipe is very versatile. You can use this same idea in any

tomato-based sauce. As you can see, we used it for our lunches

for a week - yummy hot and cold and will freeze well.


In Partnership

* Baby First Aid *

Baby first aid is run by the Red

Cross and coordinated by the lovely

Liza Ebeck. Classes are on a first

come first served basis and respond

to demand so you should never have

to wait long for a class.

These classes are brilliant

because, if you’ve ever looked

into first aid courses you’ll still

be sweating from it. First aid

training is expensive. And nobody

should have to shell out

£100 plus to gain lifesaving


Our deal with the Red Cross

means you pay £25 a head,

£45 for a couple, or £10 a head

for low income families. It’s a

priceless investment because

we’ve all had those panic

moments where you’re thinking

those first aid skills you

got back in school are pretty

useless on a baby right now.

So if you’ve been frantically

nodding while reading this, or

even if you’re just mildly

interested, it’s worth giving

some thought.

For more information, or to

sign up for a class, e-mail Liza


and breathe easy.

What You Will


· How to respond

to bangs and


· CPR to save a

choking baby

or child

· The child and

baby recovery


· Advice on

dealing with


· Recognising

Meningitis and

other serious




* Neonatal Poem *

By Lucy McClean

My son was born at 32+4 weighing 2lb 11oz. I wrote this 7

days postpartum. It was late, I was very emotional and I had

been struggling to come to terms with the experience I'd had

surrounding his birth and my treatment. It is in no way a reflection

of the countess or its staff!

Putting the experience into words helped me cope with

my feelings, and helped me let go of the pain of that first two

days of separation, and subsequently not being able to stay

with him in hospital.

I most likely fit into the category of postpartum

depression and the nurses on the ward did keep an eye on me,

I later found out from my husband, but ultimately the stress

disappeared as soon as we got him home.

He is now 21 months, healthily attached, happy and

breastfeeding… but this poem still brings me to tears.



They told me I was faulty

and they took my son away

and they put him in a box with tubes and tape.

I hadn't had a second more

to memorise his face

before all I had were pictures and reports.

Hours whisked away

before they took me to the room

where my son was lying restlessly, alone.

Wires tangled in his limbs

I was told how to touch him

and the space, where he used to live in me, shrunk.

With a mask across his eyes

for the bilirubin light,

with a blanket and a hat that were not his.

And I felt that my first moment

had been well and truly broken

like my body bruised and punctured, beaten in.

"We would let you have a cuddle"

I was told "but we're so busy"

and your bond can surely wait another day.

While I hand expressed colostrum

in a desperate attempt

to feel like the mum I should have been,

I worried that the space I felt,

the absence of a bond I held,

the love that didn't come,

that I had failed.






26 th -30 th

June 2017

Breastfeeding is amazing but

it's a skill that needs to be

learned, for mother and baby.

Luckily, there are lots of ways

to get help and support in the

Chester area, including the

brilliant free weekly support


However, feeding out and

about can be a daunting prospect

to some and tricky for

others. We want to help support

breastfeeding whilst out

and about but we’ve also included

details of family

friendly facilities at each location,

such as baby change and

highchairs, so the scheme is

useful to any family with

young children.

Breastfeeding Friendly

Chester is a volunteer run

scheme highlighting businesses

in Chester that are particularly

welcoming to breastfeeding

families. We have a

current list of businesses

signed up and committed to

making breastfeeding in public

a little bit easier.

This week we helped to

organise two fantastic

events in recognition of National

Breastfeeding Celebration


The first event was held at the

Storyhouse in Chester, where

over 100 mums came out to

support The Big Feed! I think

it’s safe to say we made ourselves


BFFC helped to organise

and support the event by

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership

NHS Foundation Trust

and The Countess of Chester

Hospital infant feeding teams.

The atmosphere was amazing

and we had fantastic support

from local businesses who

donated a whole host of raffle

prizes including tickets to see

Alice in Wonderland. Blissed

out Mama came along to offer

free shoulder massages plus

health professionals and Bosom

Buddies were on hand to

support. The Countess of

Chester also received their


UNICEF Baby Friendly reaccreditation

award, presented

by special celebrity guest,

After the phenominal success

of the Big Feed, the next

day we hosted The Breastfeeding

Friendly Teaparty at

the Hive, Dale Barracks. Another

fabulous event which

was very well attended!

Around 45 familes joined us

for tea, cake and plenty of fun

for all the family.

There were plenty of fun activities

for including a soft

play area for toddlers, face

painting by Catherine, arts

and crafts with the fantastic

Lou's Arty Party, The Mini

Makery with their fruity

snacks. We had a raffle with

great prizes including an

MOT from Foregate garage,

photography voucher worth

£50, voucher for gel nails

from Jodie's Hair and Beauty,

a mummy MOT worth £65

plus much more! Local classes

Laughter Tots, Exercise

with Baby and Baby Ballet

came along to run free mini

sessions for mums, babies and

toddlers. Plus Leah from

Dollimore Photography was

there with doing free children's

portraits in her pop up


On the back of such a successful

week, we are aiming

to arrange more future

events – so watch this space!

We are run by volunteers and

were set up with funding from

Chester NCT. (Please note:

NCT does not officially endorse

these businesses and all

opinions are those of volunteers.)

If you’d like to help us run

the scheme we’d love you to

get in touch!

You can like us on

Facebook and follow us on

Twitter here:


* Photography Fundraising Event *

This fundraiser was in aid of buying a feed and change tent so that we can

attend events like Chester Pride (opposite) and provide a quiet, calm place

for parents to feed and change their babies.

The feed and change tent will be stocked with nappy changing essentials,

some toys and comfy chairs to feed in.

We are happy to say that this fundraiser sold out! It has been a real success,

everybody has been wonderful and the babies and kids were absolute

stars. We hope they all enjoyed it and got some adorable new portraits to

take away with them!

Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered to help make

the day a special one, thank you everyone who came and a

huge thank you to our fantastic photographer, Liam and to

Toucan images who donated the free canvas raffle prize!


Come along to our feed and

change tent situated by the

main children’s




* Get In Touch! *

· Are you interested in writing for NCT Chester


· Do you want to share your birth announcement,

personal journey or breastfeeding journey?

· Do you want to make people aware of a particular

issue or health concern in pregnancy or children

up to two years old?

· Do you have thoughts or comments on today’s

parenting issues and would like to share it?

· Are you are a specialist and have insight into an

aspect of pregnancy, birth or early parenting?

· Do you want to advertise your amazing new baby

or toddler classes?

· Do you want to offer a discount on new parent

essentials to readers of Chester NCT Newsletter?

We would love to hear from you!


* Contacts *

General Enquiries:


Newsletter Editor:

First Aid:

Nearly New Sale:


Twitter Tag: @ChesterNCT

NCT Helpline: 0300 330 0700

Our branch is run by volunteers. We are mostly parents with

young children working from home which means we are not

always available. Please allow a few days for us to respond to


* Disclaimer *

The information in this newsletter is for the benefit of NCT (National

Childbirth Trust) members and beneficiaries. It may be used only in connection

with NCT activities and may not be used for any commercial purposes.

The views and opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily

those of NCT. The information contained in this newsletter should

not be reproduced without the editor's consent in writing. The appearance

of an advertisement in this newsletter does not imply endorsement of the

company or its products by NCT, nor does it constitute a recommendation.

However, it is always worth mentioning when replying to an advertisement

that you saw it in an NCT newsletter. NCT cannot be held liable for

loss, damage or injury arising out of goods sold through any advertisements

in this newsletter. Any discount offered to NCT members by any

advertisement is done so entirely at the discretion of the advertiser.

Registered Charity number (England and Wales) 801395; SC041592 (Scotland).


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