Lilli Murdoch, Digital Communications Officer at Breathe Arts Health Research interviews participant Meg, about her journey with Melodies for Mums.
Meg is taking part in the Cumbria Melodies for Mums programme, which started at the beginning January 2021. It’s the first programme to run outside of London and online. She attends with little Teddy who was 4 months last week.
As soon as we start talking, I can hear the beautiful cooing sounds only little babies make in the background. The love and tenderness in Meg’s voice is audible. She gushes about her “little chubby man” how his legs are so scrummy that she could eat them.
I ask her how it feels to be a new mum at this time.
“I wouldn’t have chosen to have a baby during a pandemic and lockdown. But I don’t know any different. I’m a very sociable person, so it’s been hard not being able to share Teddy with my friends and family. They have never met him and will never experience the joy of him as a tiny baby, this makes me really sad.”
Although Meg felt very supported by her midwife and health visitor, these visits have now stopped due to COVID-19. She feels if she needed further support she could reach out if she wanted to, but that the availability of support is a bit more sparse currently.
“It would be nice to have more tangible support, I lost my mum a few years ago, my dad lives close by, but we can’t see him as he’s over 70. My husband and I haven’t bubbled with anyone else, so it is just us.”
She tells me that of course she has low days and the cold, wet and wintery weather makes things more challenging. Stretching your legs and going for a walk, feels a lot less appealing when it’s blowing a gale.
Meg tells me that she volunteered at Cumbria Family Support, where one of the coordinators forwarded her the details for Melodies for Mums.
“When I first heard about Melodies for Mums, I assumed it was just a regular singing class for mothers and babies. I have always loved singing and love singing to Teddy, although I didn’t know many songs for babies. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that it is on a Monday, it makes me feel elated and lifts my mood ready for the week ahead.”
I asked Meg what was different about Melodies for Mums sessions compared with other mother and baby groups.
“I love the music we learn in the sessions. The melodies are beautiful, not like your usual nursery rhymes which can be a bit trite and boring, the songs are easy to pick up and sing in between lessons. Rosie is a wonderful musician. It’s brilliant having the SoundCloud playlist to learn and improve in between lessons.”
Rosie Adediran is a singer, songwriter, music leader for Melodies for Mums sessions and is a mum to 4 year old Otis. She is passionate about working with families, new mums and small people and believes music has magical powers!
Again, as we are chatting, I can hear Teddy’s lovely gurgling noises. Meg tells me how Melodies has improved both hers and Teddy’s mood and what a joy it is to have these sessions to do together. She says it’s not threatening or intimidating. You’re on mute, so you can sing as loudly or quietly as you want, with absolutely no fear of being judged.
“I’m singing to Teddy so much more now, and now have words to the songs. It’s amazing, even though Teddy is only 4 months old I can really notice the changes in his mood when I’m singing to him. If he starts off a little grumbly, I can stop him in his tracks with singing, it is so wonderful.”
“I emailed Mary the other day to tell her that Teddy has shown a real preference to some songs over others. I love “It’s a lovely Day” but Teddy’s clear favourite is the new boat train song, he particularly loves the train sounds in the chorus, I find this so fascinating.”
Meg tells me she has a beaming smile every time she finishes the sessions and how it is so lovely to see other mothers with their babies, as the social element of being a new mother has been taken by the pandemic. Meg tells me how she has already bumped into some of the other mothers from the programme when she’s been out walking or at the doctors.
“I hope to become closer to the other mothers on the programme and would love to one day attend an in-person Melodies for Mums session.”
“If you’re a new mother and are contemplating Melodies for Mums, give it a go, it is so uplifting.”
To find out more about our current Melodies for Mums programmes including dates, times and how to sign up, please click here.