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#startswithhello

This November, I had the pleasure of learning about a campaign labelled #StartsWithHello.

It is run by the charity Action for Children who are partnered with the Jo Cox Commission with the aim to raise awareness around ‘new parent loneliness’.

Parenthood is a life changing experience, full of excitement and challenges but it can also be really daunting especially for first time parents without a network of other parents around them.

I was invited to take part in this campaign and I was more than willing to cover this on the blog for many reasons, but mainly because it is something I resonate with.

As a first time mum, I thought I was fully equipped mentally, emotionally and practically, however I was not prepared for the reality of those long lonely days & nights with only the baby for company.

Despite having a number of people in my life, I often felt cut off from friends & family and other sources of support, especially in the early days. A lack of social time, a change of routine and priorities are all factors that contributed to this.

Part of the #ItStartsWithHello campaign involves a series of ‘chat and play’ sessions running across the country with the aim to get parents chatting.

So last week I went along to one of the ‘chat and play’ sessions in Birmingham. I had never been to this particular centre before so I was quite nervous to be stepping out of my comfort zone, however I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed with how well equipped this Children Centre was.

The session started with an ice breaker in a form of a tick box questionnaire to get the parents talking amongst themselves.

Parents were then paired up for a quiz on random topics, this enabled parents to share knowledge, more conversations, and confidence in the process. There were prizes all round and also a free raffle. It was a brilliant way to get the personalities showing while having a laugh in the process.

Once everyone had overcome the initial shyness, conversations were flowing, children were playing and you’d think we’ve all met before.

I for one think the ‘Chat and Play sessions are a great idea, it had some positive feedback from the rest of the parents too.

Action for Children and the Jo Cox Commission do some great work. It’s so important that as a society we stop normalising the dark feelings that come with being a new parent, which is why I’m thankful for these organisations and so many would be lost without them.

To find out more about Action for Children or to support their work click here.

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