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  1. ITV Report

Support group launched to help people through pregnancy

Katherine Rutherford at the Happy Mums Foundation. Photo:

The birth of a baby is often considered to be one of the happiest moments of a mother's life... but for many, the physical and emotional stress of child birth can have a serious impact.

Twenty per cent of new mothers are affected by postnatal depression in Cumbria.

In Mental Health Awareness Week a new support group has been set up in Carlisle to help people who are, or are worried that they might be, experiencing mental health issues during and after pregnancy.

The Happy Mums Foundation.

Katherine Rutherford helps to run the Happy Mums Foundation, which helps people in Cumbria have a happy experience of pregnancy, and deal with maternal mental health problems.

She draws from her own experiences - after the birth of her first daughter in 2011 she was admitted to a mother and baby unit with postnatal depression and anxiety.

In photographs Katherine can be seen smiling with her daughter. She says that's part of the problem - the tendency to put on a brave face and pretend that everything is ok.

Katherine Rutherford. Credit: Katherine Rutherford.

When she became pregnant for a second time, Katherine was scared the same thing would happen, and became depressed.

She decided to support others through pregnancy, and raise awareness to fight the stigma that surrounds maternal mental health:

I think it's important to understand that women who experience mental health problems haven't failed, they haven't done anything wrong, things like postnatal depression can hit anyone, no matter who you are, what your background is.

And I think like with any mental health problem, the stigma, the way we can break that down is to talk about it more. The more we talk, the more women experiencing challenges and problems will come forward and start to seek help."

– Katherine Rutherford, Happy Mums Foundation