A group borne out of a mother-to-be’s need to connect with other expectant mums is now holding weekly meet ups.
Sam Dale launched Bury St Edmunds Bump Buddies and Beyond in March last year.
As an older woman, pregnant with her fifth child, she did not have pregnant friends or know anyone else with babies and was starting to feel lonely.
She posted a lonely hearts add on the selling pages of Facebook, inviting expectant mums who felt the same way to get in touch, and was ‘so overwhelmed’ by the response that she decided to set up the Bump Buddies group.
Mrs Dale said: “When I found out I was pregnant at 42, I was already being targeted by doctors as an OAP.
“My next youngest child was nine years old so I didn’t have any friends who were pregnant or with babies and I thought ‘this is crazy, I’m going to have to go through this alone’.”
The purpose of the closed group was to help expectant and new mums make friends and to create a ‘safe’ place for them to be able to share advice and support with one another.
It now has more than 430 members and has become ‘a lifeline’ for many, with some even claiming it has helped them cope with postnatal depression.
But its growing popularity was making regular meet ups problematic – until Cllr Paul Hopfensperger offered the group £1,000 of his locality budget to fund a year’s hall hire at the Newbury Community Centre in St Olaves Road.
Mrs Dale said: “I honestly thought it was going to be a group of 25 women from Bury who might want to meet up and chat about their bumps.
“It has been phenomenal and there really is someone there 24 hours a day.”
Members meet from 9.45am to 12.15pm on Tuesdays, with bumps, babies and children welcome during term time.