I wanted to share my story about being included and welcomed into the West Norfolk NCT branch. So much so, that less than six months after I started volunteering for the branch (and less than nine months since I started attending local groups), I became joint Branch Coordinator.
Back in February, I messaged Kat, who was Branch Coordinator at the time to ask about attending the Tums2Tots group with my new baby Eden and my mum. I was incredibly scared and anxious.
I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and postnatal anxiety following a previous stillbirth and multiple miscarriages. Kat straight away reassured me and asked if there was anything she could help with. I arrived at the group (without my mum) and was greeted with kindness. Since that day I've not looked back.
"The whole of the West Norfolk Branch have supported and encouraged me on bad days, have helped me grieve, and helped my confidence and self belief grow. I am a better mum and volunteer because of them. I feel included and valued, a proper team member."
Last Friday was a typical example. We had a photographer at Tums2Tots, I had vehemently said I couldn't book on, scared of not being able to include our lost baby. With gentle words from Kat, Pippa, Alix and Claire, I did book on. I got through the photo shoot with baby Eden and our Temperance Bear.
As soon as the photographer said we were done, I cried. I hid in the kitchen while the team kept me surrounded by hugs, heartening words and even just kind eyes.
"I felt so loved. And I don't think they realise how amazing and inclusive they have been."
Now, I want to show others how to include parents with mental health issues or who are grieving.
Get in touch with your local branch to find out what volunteering opportunities are available or simply have a chat to find out more.
Many of our NCT branches are running online groups and activities for parents. Visit our local activities and meet-ups page and enter your postcode to search for your local NCT group. You can then contact your closest branch to see what's happening in your area.