Women around New Zealand rush to help mums needing a break
A wave of support for mums in need is sweeping the country after the creation of an online support group.
From Auckland to Invercargill, offers of hot meals, home baking and healthy snacks have flooded in from Kiwis keen to help mums having a tough time.
The outpouring was prompted by a Facebook group Meals for Mum, created by friends at opposite ends of the North Island. The group matches mums needing a meal with those happy to help out.
The creators of the group, Sophie Cosford and Mieke Garrett, started it after their own experiences helping friends living around the country.
When Cosford, who lives in Porirua, flew to Christchurch to deliver meals to a friend caring for a premature baby she knew there had to be an easier way.
"Buying meals online was so hard with different dietary requirements and a courier was too expensive. It was cheaper for me to fly down.
"I started thinking - if you can't physically be there for your friend what if another woman could step in and help out?"
Last week the women started the Facebook group and it "exploded", gaining more than 2600 members in less than a week.
Mothers from around New Zealand were quick to offer support to each other, Cosford said.
"People are saying this is what's been needed, what they were missing.
"Everyone can relate to not having the help they needed ... this is the village people would have had back in the day."
An online message seeking help for one mother got 24 offers of help in an hour, she said.
"Originally the mum wanted to remain anonymous but eventually she was able to step forward because she felt she didn't need to be embarrassed."
It's not just mainland New Zealand women offering or seeking support, with inquiries coming from the Chatham Islands and Australia.
"One Kiwi mum based in Perth was struggling and reached out, another mum over there was able to help."
Mieke Garrett, a clinical psychologist based in Auckland, knew what it was like to want to help a friend.
"When Sophie needed help in Wellington I desperately wanted to be there and I couldn't. I wish I could have got someone to help her and I'd repay the favour in Auckland."
The group was there to help everyone and anyone, she said.
"I don't want people to think they have to have a really awful story because everyone's struggles are valid.
"It's important to speak up, someone knows someone who can help, New Zealand is small enough for that."
Garrett and Cosford are seeking sponsors for food containers and grocery items, contact them through their Facebook page - Meals for Mum.