Is parenthood feeling challenging right now? Are you feeling low and struggling to get through the day, or constantly worrying about your baby or other things about your new life? Or perhaps you're finding things a little overwhelming, isolating or exhausting.
Becoming a parent is a huge transition, and each one of us experiences a different journey. The important thing to know is that you are not on your own, and there is support available to help you on your way. We have listed some West Kent services below. Please reach out to us if you need a listening ear or help finding support.
Baby Umbrella Listening Service
Did you or your partner experience a difficult pregnancy, birth, feeding or postnatal period? Or maybe things are currently feeling tough? Would you like to speak to one of our trained Listening Practitioners?
You can talk to us about any experience that felt challenging for you in and around pregnancy, birth and the early months of parenting. You are completely in control of what you’d like to talk about, and our practitioners are trained to listen with kindness and compassion, offering a confidential space for you to talk and reflect upon about your experience.
This service is open to all parents. Appointments are free and take place one to one on Zoom for up to 75 minutes.
Relaxation and Mindfulness
This is simply prioritising your own needs sometimes - doing some small things which are important to you every day. Maybe taking 10 minutes each morning to have a shower, maybe taking 2 minutes to make yourself a cup of tea before feeding your baby, maybe giving your baby to a partner or friend and going for a run, whatever floats your boat. You cannot give from an empty cup. Head on over to Raise Up Mums Community on Facebook for loads of fab ideas on taking care of yourself as a mum.
In the postnatal period, it's really important to spend time in a relaxed state. This helps you to heal physically and emotionally after pregancy and birth and helps your baby to relax too. You can simply close your eyes and focus on slowing your breathing for a few minutes while feeding or holding your sleeping baby. There are also lots of fantastic free guided meditations out there and we've gathered a few here. Breastfeeding Meditations; Peaceful Postnatal Meditations
Free NHS support and counselling
For support with emotional wellbeing you can talk to your Midwife, Health Visitor or GP. You can also self-refer for a free course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at:
Baby Umbrella Listening Service
If you'd like some 1-1 time with one of our trained practitioners to talk through anything that you're finding challenging about early parenting, we are here to listen. This can also be a good way to explore what other sources of support might be available to you in the local area. Find out more about our Listening Service.
Affordable/ low cost counselling is offered by a few different services in our local area:
Sevenoaks Counselling in Sevenoaks/ online
The Counselling Centre in Tunbridge Wells/ online
West Kent Mind in Sevenoaks and Tonbridge (6-12 month wait)
Mid Kent Mind in Maidstone
Sessions cost between £15-£50 per hour depending on your ability to pay and generally you would see a counsellor once a week.
Thrive Psychological Support for Birth Trauma and Loss
Thrive offers specialist short-term interventions to those experiencing moderate to severe mental health difficulties and psychological trauma as a result of, or triggered by, the perinatal context such as birth trauma and/or birth loss. More info here. (Referral through NHS)
There are lots of private counsellors operating locally, you can search for one on the Counselling Directory. Sessions are usually £40-£60 per hour and some offer concessions. You can filter for counsellors specialising in specific issues like "postnatal depression" or "pregnancy and birth"
For mental health perinatal crisis services, parents and supporters can contact the Perinatal Mental Health Community Service (PMHCS) on 01622 722 321 and request to speak to the duty clinician.
If you feel you are in need of immediate support, you can call Samaritans on 116 123 to speak to someone at any time for free. If you feel you are at risk of harming yourself or others, you can make an urgent appointment with your GP, call 999, or visit your nearest A&E.
NCT Feeding Helpline. Speak to a breastfeeding counsellor for support with breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or a bit of both. Open every day 8am to midnight. Tel. 0300 330 0700.
National Breastfeeding Helpline. Independent, mother-centred, non-judgmental breastfeeding support and information. Open every day 9.30am to 9.30pm. Tel: 0300 100 1212.
The Lullaby Trust. Emotional support for bereaved families, and information on safer sleep for babies. Tel: 0808 802 6868
PANDAS. Support for parents experiencing perinatal mental illness. Tel: 0843 2898 401 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Samaritans. A free, confidential listening service for anyone struggling to cope and needing emotional support. Tel: 116123 Email: email@example.com
These services are provided by third parties and not Baby Umbrella. To find out more about costs to call these numbers please visit Ofcom.