01:00PM, Sunday 30 August 2020
A new mum from Burnham is looking to support and connect parents in the community.
Beth Booker, who lives on Milner Road with her husband Alex, set up the Facebook group Burnham Lockdown Babies at the beginning of month.
The group, which was originally aimed at parents who had babies during the lockdown, welcomes all parents with children from Burnham and the surrounding areas.
Beth, who gave birth to her son Harrison in March just before lockdown, said she set the group up to provide a ‘place for mums and dads to come together’ through interacting in the online Facebook group and attending the face-to-face meet-ups.
Beth, who holds meet-ups in Burnham Park every Wednesday, said parents get together for an informal discussion about what they missed out on during lockdown and cover topics such as weaning.
The 33-year-old added that due to parents missing out on face-to-face baby classes and services during the lockdown, she is looking to set up an outdoor play and sensory session and also sessions covering feeding, weaning and first-aid.
Beth added she aims to keep the group ‘predominantly’ free to ensure that it is ‘accessible to everyone’.
Discussing her experience of being a new mum in lockdown, Beth said: “During the main lockdown it was really nice to have that real bonding time without having to rush anywhere.
“You didn’t feel like you have to be anywhere, you didn't have anyone visiting, which has been nice as a family.”
Group member Sandra Cotterell, who welcomed her daughter Scarlett in November last year, said the meet-ups gave her the chance to see the development of other babies and also gave Scarlett the opportunity to see and interact with other babies.
The 28-year-old, who is also mum to 10-year-old Eli, who lives with Deletion Syndrome and is in a wheelchair, said: “The good thing about meeting with other mums and dads is that you knew you weren't alone in feeling anxious about these things and that they were perfectly normal worries to have for every parent.”
She added: “It’s hard not to worry about [Scarlett’s] development and what the future could hold for her.
“[But] speaking to the other mums and seeing that their children are doing similar things definitely helps reassure me and calm me that she’s near where she should be.
“I definitely think that lockdown has had a slight impact on her development in the sense I don’t think she’s had the opportunity to have the same experiences and developmental opportunities to progress.”
Sandra, who experienced postnatal depression following the birth of both her son and daughter, said that her ‘mental health has definitely been a lot better’ since she started attending the meet-ups and she’s started feeling ‘a bit more excited again’ and ‘less anxious’ about the situation surrounding COVID-19.
Sandra said that she found it ‘quite stressful’ looking after both her son and daughter ‘almost as a single parent’ during lockdown, as her husband Damien, who works for the ambulance service, had to move out for six weeks to protect the family.
She said: “I would say now that lockdown is starting to ease, it’s a bit easier to give them both a bit more of the time, because there’s also other things open so that my son’s happier because he’s able to go out and engage in other activities now.”
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