Nicola Flanagan is a military wife and mum to three young boys. She’s also an antenatal teacher, perinatal mental health and birth trauma therapist. During her last posting in Tidworth, she ran classes for antenatal and postnatal women, and realised the huge challenges some of you face during this vulnerable window.
Nicola set up Me And My Baby (MAMBA) to offer tailored support. “There are so many things that can happen in the perinatal window that can affect parents and have long-reaching impacts on their emotional state,” she says. “Things such as a difficult IVF journey, miscarriages, hormoneinduced mood changes, a difficult breastfeeding journey, managing reflux and colic, perinatal anxiety… the list goes on, and nothing can truly prepare women for the unknown journey they will experience.”
The MAMBA group receives many messages from women who recognise that they need some help to process the feelings they are experiencing. “I’m so anxious that my husband won’t be back for our baby’s birth, I’m hardly sleeping and panic every time someone asks me about the baby,” reports one expectant mum. Another says: “I feel so worried every time my partner is looking after the baby that it’s becoming really damaging to our relationship.”
When MAMBA signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant last year, Nicola set up a Facebook group specifically for pregnant and new mums in the military community. “We now have more than 400 members,” she explains. “Through peer support and the individual work I do with women and couples, I can really see the positive impact we’re having. I’m delighted to be able to support our military community from a place of specialist expertise, experience, compassion and understanding.”
Go to mambaUK.com or search Military Pregnant and New Mums Community on Facebook to join.
Main photo: Nicola Flanagan