I am feeling quite proud of the community that I am part of this evening in Cardiff. Although the photo somewhat resembles an average day in our "dinning room", it is in fact a collection of pre-loved baby and toddler paraphernalia donated by kind families across the city.
Community Midwifery is a real eye opener to the place in which you live. In the space of a day I can visit houses where I have to guard my heart from uber nice house envy to visiting houses where a family of four with a new baby will be sleeping on the floor without a mattress, all in one room as they can't afford to heat or furnish their home.
Recently I have found myself involved with the care of a family and a single mum who for completely different reasons have found themselves with beautiful new babies and minimal to no financial resources to buy basic clothes and equipment. I genuinely wish I could tell you their stories but I can't. I look at both families and know that it could just as easily be me in their circumstances. (I chatted with a colleague this week who visited a home where a mum was sleeping her newborn in an open suitcase as she couldn't afford a moses basket or cot. There is genuine child poverty in the city where we live).
Anyway, back to our story, I put a shout out on Facebook this week to friends and school mums to see if anybody had any baby stuff that they no longer needed that I could give away. The response was immense. The picture reflects only a proportion of the equipment given. We had three cots, baby baths, sterilisers, beautiful clothes, a Thomas potty that I had to hide from Joel as it plays the Thomas tune when you pee in it, and a travel system bought from Gumtree specifically to give away. Whilst clearing people out of all their baby stuff I felt a certain obligation to give free family planning advice....... Oh, and not to forgot the amazing lady who hasn't had her babies yet so she popped a chunk of cash in our church account to use at our discretion for these families.
This is why I feel proud to be part of the community I am part of in Cardiff. People weren't just giving away stuff because it gave them extra room in the loft. I felt the kindness and compassion of mum's through the little extras that they bought to give with their own equipment, the packs of nappies and baby bath, formula and pacifiers. Nobody asked me questions about whether the new Mum's were migrants or asylum seekers, working or unemployed, married or single. People understood that there was a mum with a new baby who needed some help and that connection was enough. Things were passed from one mum to another. Well done ladies and gents. You have made my heart glad.
It's got us thinking too how we could help other families in similar situations so watch this space......