Help at hand for new mums
Tara Jenkins and Karen Pittar
The pressure on today's mothers can be immense. Fear of the unknown combined with the daunting prospect of raising children in a fast-moving world can often turn what should be a joyful life experience into a confusing and anxious time.
Recent research from Florida State University in the US and Australia's Journal of Health & Social Behaviour has shown that all types of parents - whether they're married, sole or step - are more depressed than adults who don't have children, and tend to feel lonely and fearful more often.
A Hong Kong organisation called Blooming Bellies hopes to ease some of that pressure by providing an online forum for expectant and new mothers. Established by a group of pregnancy professionals, including a midwife and a Chinese medicine practitioner, Blooming Bellies aims to create a social circle of mothers who can help each other by sharing their pregnancy and mother- hood experiences.
'New mothers are on their own most of the time,' says pharmacist and Chinese medicine practitioner Gianna Buonocore, one of Blooming Bellies founders. 'Their husbands are often away, they're not sure what they're doing and they need a support network.
'For so many women, there's a fear of the unknown, even if you're not a first-time mother. Many require support with how to breastfeed, they feel lonely or upset, or they don't know how to calm a crying baby.
'With Blooming Bellies we're trying to reach out to these women and help them, if possible, by referring them to different experts.'
The group staged a Pregnancy and Family Day at the Novotel Century Hotel in Wan Chai this month, at which it brought together pregnancy specialists and parenthood experts to give presentations and answer questions on subjects such as breastfeeding, reflux and changes in milk formula. More events are planned in future.
For more information on Blooming Bellies, go to www.bloomingbellies.org