Harmony was absolutely blown away by the support she received from Bellyful Tauranga as a new mum. “I had just returned home from hospital with my brand new baby girl and was feeling a little overwhelmed. There was so much to learn, to do, and I didn’t know how I would get back into the daily routine of cooking the meals while caring for my daughter.
“Being a mum in those early days was nothing like I had imagined it would be. I was having problems with breastfeeding and my supply was a bit low. Getting up every 30 minutes to feed my daughter was tough, trying to get used to her sleep patterns and needs. I thought I should be able to do it all on my own, but I really couldn’t.
“Then there was a knock on the door and a lady appeared with all these meals. They didn’t ask for anything from me. They just wanted to help and make things a bit easier.
“It was such a load off my shoulders. The food was amazing. Really good filling meals that you could just heat up and eat when you wanted to. And the lactation cookies were AWESOME! I can still remember them now – they were the best!
“Having those meals meant there was one less thing to worry about in my crazy busy new life as a mum.”
Harmony has referred other new mums to Bellyful, including her Uncle’s partner.
“My Uncle didn’t realise that I’d referred his partner. She had arrived home from hospital after having her first baby and Bellyful knocked on the door with the meals. He rang me and said ‘These people just bought over a mean feed for us. Who do we have to pay for this?’ I told him it was free. He said ‘Who does that? Who gives you food for free? Are you sure?’.
“I’ve never forgotten the support I received from Bellyful. So often in this life people want something from you in return. Bellyful asks for nothing. They just give help at a time when you really need it.”
Bellyful Tauranga supports a growing number of mothers with newborn babies who do not a strong local network. “Bellyful provides a moment of respite at a time of massive change for families” says Rose Ross, recipient co-ordinator at Bellyful Tauranga. “Our deliveries are often met with tears of relief from grateful new mums. It’s a practical and simple service that creates a hugely positive impact. When both my children arrived, I was fortunate to have a support network that organised meals for me. Volunteering for Bellyful gives me a chance to offer the same support to families who aren’t as lucky as I was.
Since receiving support from Bellyful two years ago, Harmony has moved to Auckland and is studying medicine. She is also working part-time while looking after her daughter Aria. She wanted to share her story as a way of thanking Bellyful for the support they gave her. Just when she needed it most.
Words by Katy Glenie
Photos by Owee Yulo