Many thanks to Lauren the founder of NIPS for this months guest blog post.
NIPS is a non-profit community organisation which aims to create events for adults and children.
Lauren explains why she created NIPS and her plans for the future, you can find out more on her Facebook page Be.nips or Instagram @be.nips.
'I have found having children and becoming a proper grown up mind-boggling. I was fiercely independent before I had children so to go from that, to living in a new place with a kid who was having fits and bad acid reflux attacks incredibly challenging. I have always battled with my depression, which brought on issues with food and anxiety, for a long time, however when you have a child you're supposed to be strong and able. You need to toughen up, socialise, go to baby groups, cook good meals and breastfeed buckets of perfect milk. You need to last on no sleep, wash the clothes, have showers and talk to the neighbours.
Doing all of this away from my friends and family was too much and several times I called my mum or my partner in a streamy, teary mess saying I wasn't coping. I couldn't look after my baby and I didn't feel like me anymore. When I told mum I was having another baby she thought I was absolutely mad.
I'm glad I had baby two and have found I still get bouts of depression and bad anxiety, but by the time he came out I'd come to the realisation that I was a mum, I was still me, and I was getting used to no sleep and the lay of the motherhood land. I still found socialising hard and felt disconnected to a lot of what was going on locally in our village.
I decided to start a baby group, offering a sanctuary to people who might feel the same, then after this I worked with two other women under the name KIN, with the aim to set up a space in Bath - a community hub which would offer support and a place that was really made for both adults and children, but we realised overheads were insane and the idea would take several years to get off the ground. I needed to do something sooner, to make change happen.
I started alone and set up NIPS, with the aim to put on discussions, workshops and events for anyone who wanted to learn, feel part of something and realise they weren't alone - join the community together with events that are busy and supportive of everyone - and most importantly were easy to access financially, in terms of location and by offering childminding so parents can go. Also for the events to be in the day, because I crave pj's by the time the evening hits.
So, NIPS began and I chose mental health as our first subject. I want to take our events all over the country, run seminars for all sorts of subject matters and people - I'm currently researching a seminar titled Being a Woman which will delve into periods, equality, menopause and confidence. Another will be on divorce and separation, and I'm currently collaborating with someone on an empowering workshop for children. Our first seminar felt powerful and full of truly inspiring talks and people, who embraced the day and pushed their nerves aside to talk in public, ask questions and be part of something dynamic.
I have mentors, volunteers and a lists of brilliant speakers who are able to discuss and share. I'm feeling confident about what I can offer, that a person can always develop and change - who we are isn't stagnant or set in stone.'