This week is UK Black Maternal Mental Health Week (BMMHW), taking place from 25th September to 1st October. BMMHW is an annual event that aims to promote education, advocacy, and support for Black women during their pregnancy and postpartum journey, which is deeply relevant for the Amma community.
2020 has been a difficult year. When the business of normal life came to a stop, many people struggled with feelings of isolation—especially those with new babies. For mothers like Erica and Alvina, the Amma Mamas online peer support group created an opportunity to form a lasting friendship, even during lockdown.
“Being alone and pregnant in a new environment is quite challenging. I didn’t have anyone to support me but Amma was there for me.”The experience of being pregnant in a new city, separated from friends and loved ones, is one Erica and Alvina share. Alvina says, “I was on my own and didn’t have anyone. I was pretty scared.”
The Amma Mamas peer support group was set up during lockdown to help reduce isolation among the individuals supported by Amma.
Alvina says, “When the lockdown started, no one knew what to do—but Amma, very helpfully, supported all the mums. They sorted out phones and internet to make sure everyone was equipped so we could stay digitally connected.”
Erica describes it as a “great platform where mothers can interact with each other.”
The group continues to meet every Friday on Zoom. According to Alvina, it’s somewhere mums “can talk, share ideas and help each other through the lockdown period”.
Alvina and Erica, who met through Amma Mamas, talk about how grateful they are to have become friends. Erica says, “Alvina and I connected instantly—even on Zoom—so when we met in person, it was like we had been friends forever.
I have learned so much from her and I am grateful I have a sister that I met through Amma. I know our friendship will continue forever.”
Alvina also talks about their instant connection, saying “I am grateful I have met this wonderful person and ultimately, I am thankful to Amma. Erica inspires me and I love her energy. I now have a friend for life.”
Creating a platform where mums can connect and become friends is so important to Amma. Although our intention was always to establish an in-person peer support group, we couldn’t let the pandemic stop us from continuing our efforts to help parents feel less isolated.
Alvina says, “I really struggled throughout the lockdown. It was just me and my very young baby at the time so the support I got from Amma was really valuable. They were my lifeline.”
Erica also talks about the support she received through lockdown: “Amma supported me emotionally and supported me physically. Even though my family is not here, Amma is like a family to me. The mentors really care for you and love you. I didn’t expect that but I got it.”
Amma is more than just a charity—we are a family. We work together and care for each other. Our goal is to provide the support and compassion that every new parent deserves.
Erica says “Amma is a guardian angel to me. They’ve been there for me and they are a family to me. I am grateful for the mums and the Amma staff.” And according to Alvina, “Amma has been my lifeline. I am forever connected to a sisterhood. I am grateful to be part of this family.”
This holiday season, help mothers like Erica and Alvina find lasting connections.
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On June 23, we were delighted to attend the Scottish Charity Awards in Edinburgh. Hosted by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), these awards celebrate the individuals and organisations that strengthen our communities and improve people’s lives across Scotland. This year’s shortlist included Amma’s Vice-Chair, Vongayi Mufara, who was awarded Trustee of the Year.
On Friday, June 23, as part of Refugee Festival Scotland, we held an event at Glasgow Women’s Library celebrating our project Mama Stitch. This project was a collaboration between Amma and Dr Lucy Lowe, Senior Lecturer in Medical Anthropology at Edinburgh University.