Support for mums

BEAUTIFUL BOY: Kristina Paterson is enjoying bringing up her son, Nathan, 3.
BEAUTIFUL BOY: Kristina Paterson is enjoying bringing up her son, Nathan, 3.

Kristina Paterson knows all about the pressures of being a new mum and how quickly things can spin out of control.

The Onetangi resident is the founder of Mothers Helpers, an Auckland service for people at risk or suffering from postnatal depression, newly launched on Waiheke.

"It's really important for mums to get help when they need it. The Invercargill baby who was attacked is not the sort of thing we want to have happen here," Kristina says.

The 3-week old baby was rushed to hospital on September 9, the day after her mother was turned away from Southland Hospital.

Her mother had gone to the hospital in "extreme pain" and, after undergoing several tests, was told she had postnatal depression and mastitis.

She was sent home and told to see her GP the next day, according to her husband. The next day the baby was critically injured.

Kristina has had her own experience of postnatal depression.

"But I never once contemplated harming my baby."

She says she knows how easy it is to slip through the net because that was what happened to her.

When the registered nurse gave birth to her son Nathan nearly four years ago in Auckland the experience was very different to what she had been expecting.

"It was traumatic.

"I started having symptoms of postnatal depression straight away. Three days after the birth, I got what is known as the baby blues but the difference for me was that I couldn't stop crying."

She was told by a midwife that if she was crying by day seven she should see her GP.

But Kristina says she was so sleep-deprived she could not think straight.

She decided to make herself stop crying so she did not have to go.

It opened the floodgates to "nine months of hell" when she was unable to cope. She eventually sought help.

Since then, Kristina has been trying to save others from that experience.

She founded Mothers Helpers in Auckland in 2011 with the aim of providing a support network and diagnostic service for at-risk pregnant women and sufferers.

A move to the island six months ago prompted her to offer the service on Waiheke and the new branch was launched last Friday night at Onetangi Hall.

Mothers Helpers aims to work with GPs, midwives and Well Child nurses to support mothers.

Now Kristina is asking residents to offer their time, no matter how small, to help.

"We are looking for volunteers for a variety of roles including peer support workers and in-home volunteers, who provide childcare and housework."

Contact info@mothers to offer help. Go to to receive help or to refer someone else.

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