by Hannah Croft
Attention all expectant parents in Canterbury: a new exciting venture is starting and we want you to know about it.
Beginning this month, the Westgate Hall will host the Kent Birth Network’s pregnancy open evenings.
Visitors can learn about about the range of services and resources available for growing families – from children’s centres, nutrition, hypnobirthing, breastfeeding support, baby signing, and more.
Information about the support available will be provided. There will be a range of public, charitable and other free services, plus those of private service providers, too.
These open evenings are for all those in the local community who are trying to conceive, pregnant or with a new baby.
The first 20 women through the door will be given a free goody bag, and can take part in a raffle with prizes as well.
There will also be three free talks. The topics for May include: Nutrition for Mum and New Baby, The Benefits of Relaxation for Birth and a Baby Wearing Demonstration.
These events are the creation of Gina Potts, of ZenBirth, who set up previous successful events in London, before her family’s move to Kent.
Gina has worked tirelessly to bring together a range of practitioners to help showcase all our area has to offer.
She said: “When I was a new mum, I had no idea what support was out there. I felt isolated and alone, I struggled to breastfeed, and, after too many very difficult months, I was diagnosed with post-natal depression, PTSD and anxiety.
“I only discovered there were, for example, breastfeeding support groups after five weeks of struggling to breastfeed, and I had no idea about play sessions at children’s centres where I could meet other mums. My pre-mummy life never caused me to know about such things. If only someone had told me.”
After her son turned one, Gina switched jobs and became an antenatal teacher and then a volunteer with an NHS trust, setting up its monthly early pregnancy open evenings in 2012.
Gina added: “When I moved to Canterbury four years ago and began teaching my ZenBirth classes locally, I was hearing the same thing from mums: ‘I wish I had known…’ ‘If only someone had told me…’ etc.
“So together with some lovely colleagues and friends we have set up these monthly Canterbury pregnancy open evenings with the same vision, to help expectant parents become informed about the range of services and support available to them, to help them have a better experience of pregnancy, birth and early parenting.”
The first event takes place at the Westgate Hall, Canterbury, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Wednesday, May 16. There will be further events at the same time on June 20 and July 25.
Hannah Croft lives in Wincheap with her husband and two children, aged six and two. An accredited breastfeeding counsellor, she is passionate about helping families meet their breastfeeding goals.