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A Bluebell Story

Mary's story

At Bluebell Place, I could be honest about things.

Mary first came to us just after her daughter Sephy was born, and for the next two years they were regulars at Bluebell Place. Here Mary describes the sense of belonging she felt there and how, with our support, she found the confidence to return to her demanding job in the NHS.

“It sounds awful because I love her so much, but when Sephy was tiny I almost felt like I’d ruined my life. It was all such a change. 

I tried other baby groups but I felt like a bit of a misfit because everyone else was so outwardly cheerful. People only seemed to talk about the great stuff, and how wonderful their babies were.

But at Bluebell Place, I could be honest about things. It was so liberating to be able to say, “I've had a really crap day and I don't like my baby very much right now and I don't think she likes me,” and not to have people recoil in horror. 

When I was pregnant, I'd had all these images of lovely things I’d do on maternity leave. Visiting a perinatal mental health charity hadn’t really been part of my plan. But when it came to it, chatting to other mums over coffee and cake at Bluebell Place gave me a true sense of belonging in my new life.

I remember going to Bluebell one Wednesday afternoon after a really rubbish morning. Nothing in particular had happened, but I just felt really overwhelmed by everything. It was very busy because there was a craft session happening. As soon as I walked in the door, Carol came over and said, “Do you want to come and have a sit down on the sofa with me?” She just knew. She just knew to take me to a corner for a bit of a chat. She didn’t ask what was wrong – but she was giving me the space to talk to her if I needed to. Her perceptiveness was amazing. And she knew how I liked my coffee!

Hanging out at the creche at Bluebell was complete and utter bliss. Helen, Kerry and Emma were so lovely, and Emma in particular was a fountain of knowledge. If I had any concerns about feeding or sleeping or anything else around parenting, she always had something incredibly helpful to say. 

I’d been so caught up in my anxiety that I hadn’t thought much about sensory play.  I remember the creche team taking beautiful silk scarves and drifting them over the babies’ faces while the babies lay on the mats in absolute heaven. I couldn’t quite believe it when Sephy picked up a painted pinecone and proceeded to play with it for 40 minutes!

I’d had real anxiety about being separated from Sephy. Even when my parents visited, I could barely leave her go to the loo because I was so worried about someone else holding her. Using the Bluebell creche helped me overcome that. I started feeling able to leave Sephy at home with my partner while I went for a coffee or a walk. That was the start of everything turning around for me.

At Bluebell, you find living testimonies to things getting better. When I first went there, I met another mum who was moving away from the service because her daughter was close to turning two. By the time I was finishing my time at Bluebell, this mum was back – she’d become one of the amazing, strong volunteers with lived experience who return to support other women. That was really meaningful for me. I thought, ‘Wow - I'm going to be there in a couple of years.’

Bluebell has had a complete effect on my life. What they’ve done for me goes beyond motherhood and my relationship with Sephy. They’re the reason I’m back in my old job. I’m a nurse specialist working with patients with lymphoma. I’d found my work really difficult when I was pregnant, and I didn’t want to go back after my maternity leave. But I did go back – and when I put on my purple uniform I thought, “I wouldn’t be doing this if it hadn’t been for Bluebell.”

I genuinely feel as though Bluebell saved my life. That may sound dramatic, but I can't think of anything else that had such an impact on me and helped me feel so normal. They helped me regain so much confidence in myself. I honestly don't know where I’d be without them.”

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