WHILE some say there is no happier time than the first few weeks with your newborn baby, some new mums are often left feeling scared, anxious and alone.

With as many as one in seven women experiencing some form of postnatal depression in the three months after giving birth, one former sufferer from Somerford Keynes is hoping to throw a lifeline to those struggling to cope.

“I suffered very badly with postnatal depression. It was severe and took me two years to actually get over it,” said Lauraine Cheesman, who is setting up a support group to help those affected.

The Somerford Keynes mother-of-two saw her world turn upside down following the birth of her first child.

“You look around and you think that everybody is having a lovely time apart from you. It is such a horrible condition, it can feel like you’ll never get better,” she said.

Postnatal depression, often referred to as the baby blues, usually develops in the first four to six weeks after childbirth although it is not unheard of for it to take several months to surface.

Mothers with the condition can often find themselves with a persistent feeling of sadness and a loss of interest in the world around them while other, in extreme cases, contemplate harming themselves and/or their baby.

“I think a lot of people are starting to talk more openly about the problem now. I was quite lucky in the fact that I spoke about my condition a lot, but so many mums will keep it bottled up because they’re embarrassed,” Lauraine said.

“So many don’t want to admit that they cannot cope but if you’re not open and don’t talk about it, you can get into all sorts of trouble.”

The 43-year-old, who overcame the affliction by taking solace in art, intends to draw upon her own experiences when organising group meetings.

She said: “For me, art was a great release. So whether it is art, yoga or just sitting down and having a chat over a cup of tea, I just want to help mums who are in the same boat that I was.”

Lauraine plans to distribute leaflets in and around Cirencester to advertise the group and to generate ideas on how the group can benefit its users.

For further information, contact Lauraine Cheesman on 07886 570933.