Meet a Villager: Veronica

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Get to know your fellow local parents who are regulars at The Village and learn more about how our services have helped them.

This time meet Veronica, who is a bit of a Village superfan!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Veronica and I live in Brockley with my husband David and our baby daughter, Jett, who has just turned one. We’ve lived in Brockley on and off for the last 13 years but had recently moved back from a stint in the US just before the pandemic hit. I work in a media agency so am generally found sitting at a desk, or on a plane travelling, back when we used to do that!

Before you joined us at The Village, how was your experience of early parenthood? How were you feeling?

Having a baby at any time is a huge event, but during the pandemic, I think every emotion was heightened. The feeling of isolation was something I struggled with in particular. I love to get out and be around family/friends a lot, so having to cope with early parenthood with just my husband was definitely not easy. I also felt a sense of loss at not being able to introduce my baby to anyone for a really long time, due to the various lockdowns.

How did you find out about The Village?

I was desperate for some interaction with other parents of new babies, so I put out a request on a local Facebook group to ask about any groups that might be open in-person. In amongst the many messages reminding me that there was a lockdown and baby groups weren’t essential (insert eyeroll), I found a gem of a message from Yasmin, inviting me to come on one of the Village walks. I was delighted to find somebody who was proactively looking to help connect and support new parents, at a time when I really needed it.

What was the first class/group/service you came for? How was that experience?

My first experience of The Village was a walk in Ladywell Fields. At that point Jett was only 6 weeks old and I had no idea what to expect. I even turned up in full exercise gear, thinking it might be more of a speed-walking affair! What I discovered though was a lovely group of people in very similar situations to me. Nobody batted an eyelid when I kept having to stop to feed Jett and it was such a relief to finally be around other parents and get to chat about our experiences.

What other services/classes/groups have you used/been to?

Since my first walk, I’ve become quite the Village fan. I’ve been on many walks and then to lots of sessions at the Corbett Library on a Wednesday. In the early days I was so grateful to have the ‘On Parenthood’ sessions with doula Sarah Tessier, to talk about all the emotions we were experiencing as new pandemic-parents. I also took the opportunity to have a full Mummy MOT with the brilliant and hilarious Sarah Parker, to make sure everything was OK post-birth and talk through the various niggles I had, with her giving me some brilliant tips to help alleviate the aches and pains. As Jett grew bigger, the Family Music class became a firm favourite and just gets more fun by the week. 8 months into our breastfeeding journey, I attended the feeding support group and Lisa was wonderful – there to support the tiniest babies through to those of us dealing with teething issues. Most of all, I love turning up and seeing the smiling faces of the Village team, who are so welcoming and make the place feel like home.

What difference has The Village made to your feelings and experience of being a parent?

I’m so grateful to have found The Village. I truly would have been lost without the wonderful support from everyone and the ability to connect with other parents. I’ve always felt confident in my parenting but the pandemic made is such an isolating experience and I so desperately needed to have that human contact and sense of shared experience, to help get through the early days.

Have you made friends at The Village?

Oh my goodness the friends I’ve made at the Village! I really wasn’t expecting to meet so many wonderful people that I would really connect with. I intentionally didn’t go down the traditional route of an NCT-group as I didn’t want just a ready-made group of people who happened to have babies the same age. I discovered though that I actually did need to meet other local people in similar situations to me and it’s led me to meet a really diverse group of people who I otherwise would never have met. We’ve now firmly moved on from the chats of nappies/ sleeping and it’s just wonderful to have made such great friends. We’ll often be found around the corner in Wanderlust Cafe with a waffle before music class on a Wednesday, still at least partially discussing how tired we all are 🙂

What would you say to local parents who are thinking of coming to The Village?

I think all local parents should pay a visit to the Village. It’s a place of endless support, no judgement and I love how accessible it is to everyone, via the tiered pricing structure. There are lots of groups out there that focus on babies/young children (or at least there were pre-2020), but the Village is the one place where the focus is on parent wellbeing.

Any other thoughts to share?

Massive thanks to the Village team for everything they’ve done for me and Jett. I can’t imagine how different the past year might have been without your brilliant support. Those walks in the park through lockdown made an unimaginable difference to our wellbeing and I will be eternally grateful for that.

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