A MUM who struggled with post-natal depression found help in an unlikely place.
Ana Lyons, 37, from Ellesmere Port, suffered from depression after the birth of her first child, Rebecca, 10 years ago.
She was hit by two deaths in the family just before the birth of her second daughter, Jennifer, and worried the impact would plunge her into another low period.
But visits to Stanlaw Abbey Children’s Centre in Ellesmere Port with her daughters gave her a vital lifeline.
Ana explained: “When I had Rebecca I suffered post-natal depression, but I was lucky to have the support of my husband Steve, my mum and my mother-in-law to help me through it.
“Then, before the birth of my second daughter Jennifer, both my mum and mother-in-law died.
“I felt pretty low and, with Steve out at work all day, I found myself looking at the same four walls and started to worry that depression would kick in again.
“My health visitor suggested that I go to the Stanlaw Abbey Sure Start Children’s Centre where I could meet other parents and Jennifer would have someone to play and learn with while Rebecca was at school.
“I started going to baby massage sessions once a week and really enjoyed it.
“My sister-in-law had her baby two months later, so we started meeting in the community café and before long we were going three times a week, taking part in a ‘time for you’ social group and helping organise a keep fit class on Friday afternoons.”
The learning co-ordinator offers study courses meaning users can do a course in familiar surroundings while their baby is looked after in the crèche.
Ana added: “I’ve met even more friends through becoming a learning champion, which involves encouraging other parents to take advantage of opportunities for learning new subjects and skills.
“And now I’m doing an access course in health and social care which could lead to me getting a job as a teaching assistant or even a family support worker.
“A few months ago, Steve lost his job in accounts and we faced a lot of uncertainty.
“To fill his days, Steve got involved in running the Friends of Stanlaw Abbey community allotment.
“Now, with help from the centre staff, he’s been able to set up as a self-employed gardener and handyman, which is great”