All mums together
PUBLISHED: 09:17 16 January 2014 | UPDATED: 09:17 16 January 2014
Seeing her baby for the first time at her 12-week scan should have been one of the happiest moments of Louise Mundford's life - but her joy was cut short when her mother died of cancer just four days later.
Feeling lost without her mum to help guide her through those first months of parenthood, she decided to do something positive which would not only give her the help she needed but also others in the same position.
“I set up a support group on Facebook called New Mums without Mums where people could go if they needed someone to talk to or wanted advice or to share feelings. But it wasn’t until we did a charity auction in aid of the Big C, which raised more than £1500, that people started to realise we were here. Now, it has grown and grown and we have more than 50 members.”
Louise’s daughter Lydia is now nearly two years old, and the group has proved a lifeline.
“It is not just a space for sadness, a lot of happy and funny things are shared on it too. But if you are having a down day and need someone, you can put a message up and someone will respond without fail. We talk online and we meet with and without the children.”
Like Louise, some members have only recently lost their mums but there are those who were bereaved when they were children themselves.
“Everyone has very different stories but we all have one thing in common, we have all lost our mums. When you have a child of your own, it brings a lot of emotions back to the surface and makes you think about things in a different way no matter when your mum died.”
Louise, who lives in Long Stratton and works as a teacher, describes her mum Lynn as “very inspirational”.
“Listening to the other girls’ stories really made me appreciate my mum even more. I had 28 wonderful years with her, she saw me get married and I got to tell her I was pregnant with Lydia. Some people lost their mums when they were little and have none of those memories.”
Becky Howard, a mum of three from near Diss, says that joining the group has helped her through the “good and bad times”.
“The pain of losing your mum is horrendous, but when you become a mum yourself you suddenly realise just how much they mean to you. It’s so wonderful to be able to speak with other mums who know exactly how you feel.”
Trudii Isherwood, from Old Catton in Norwich, adds: “I wasn’t in an especially bad place, my son was two months old and I’d lost my mum three years before. But reading the stories and posts from others made me realise how much of a gap Mum had left. I wasn’t letting myself think ‘I need my mum’. Now I let myself miss her advice and guidance and ask the amazing ladies in the group for help instead.”
As well as being a support group for members, Louise was also keen to bring together their experiences to raise money for causes close to their hearts - with members voting to support a different charity for each fundraiser.
This month sees the release of their first charity calendar featuring the children of many of the members which Louise hopes will raise plenty of money for Priscilla Bacon Lodge.
“Norfolk photographer Alison Armstrong suggested it after donating to our online auction for the Big C. She offered to do it for us and we thought it was a great idea and we had so much fun on the shoots with all the children.”
Any new or expectant mums are welcome to join the group. For more information about the group or to order a calendar, costing £6, call 01508 531916 or find New Mums Without Mums on Facebook.