A Co Antrim woman has established on social media a support group for mothers with postnatal depression.
Emma Hughes from Ballyclare formed the ‘Our Space’ group on Facebook last month.
The young mum struggled with postnatal depression after the birth of her son, Daniel, in May 2016.
Emma said: “I lived in denial for over a year before I realised I couldn’t go on the way I was going and made an appointment with my doctor, who prescribed me medication.
“While the tablets have helped get my anxiety under control, I still have my off days where all I want is to speak to someone and say exactly how I feel.”
Detailing her own experiences, Emma added: “I was obsessed with every single noise or movement my son made. I would check on him through the night, making sure there were no covers on Daniel’s face, wondering if he was breathing.
“Tiredness manifested into anger during the day as I struggled with exhaustion and not wanting to be there anymore.”
Emma decided that a support group should be set up to try and help people in the same position.
She explained: “I think this is something that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency as the stigma still surrounding postnatal is absolutely shocking. Shame is what keeps mothers from speaking up as they fear they will be looked at differently.”
‘Our Space’ is open to women from Northern Ireland and currently has over 60 members.
Emma added: “We are only on Facebook at the moment, but I have plans that we will eventually graduate to days out or trips where all our kids are welcome and we can all support each other as a lot of members have said they dread going out by themselves due to anxiety.
“The women involved are all extremely positive and we are all there so we can speak freely to someone who knows what we are going through, someone to say, ‘I have had a really bad day too, I know exactly how you feel’.
“We swap tips on bonding and dealing with our anxiety, share pictures and give feedback on what professional help we have received and where to contact. It is such a positive atmosphere women helping women,mums helping mums.”
For more information, check out the Our Space Facebook page.