Gift Time For Kids, a new toy-alternative company, has carried out a study of over 100 new mums and revealed that loneliness and depression are experienced by the majority of parents.
• 68% feel depressed, low or unhappy after having a baby
• 89% do not seek professional help
• 91% take their children to classes or activities but 40% feel restricted by money worries
The 2017 study reveals that 68% of new mums feel depressed, low or unhappy after having a baby. Many of us are familiar with the terms ‘miracle’ and ‘proud’ following the arrival of a baby but this can often go hand in hand with ‘overwhelmed’, ‘emotional’ and ‘responsibility’. Parents may often feel this shouldn’t be mentioned for fear of appearing ungrateful.
The study also found that that 89% of those who suffer with feelings of loneliness, depression and isolation do not seek professional help, with most thinking it is completely normal and feeling the need to “just get on with it”, according to Nichola, a mum of two.
Rather than visiting their GP many parents have found a more positive way to cope with these emotions. Rather than resorting to clinical intervention, many sign up for local baby and toddler activity classes. “Baby classes were a lifesaver” says Gillian, a mum of two. Gillian moved to the suburbs when she was eight months pregnant and did not know anyone in her new town. She found that she soon relied upon the classes to “make maternity leave bearable and have an adult conversation”.
Polly, a mum of one says “Having a purpose and something to look forward to after having a baby can be such a positive influence on your frame of mine”.
The benefits of classes are important to not just mums but all parents. Whilst this study primarily received responses from women, the feelings are not just experienced by mums. Gillian talks about how she and her husband shared parental leave and how fathers can feel the pressure of responsibility but do not have a similar support network. Gillian remarks that her husband was not as widely invited for coffees and play dates as she was which only compounded his reluctance to go. However classes like swimming, give dads the opportunity to share the bonding experience and enjoy some quality time with their children.
The study also investigated the cost of classes and if that was a factor in whether parent chose to participate. In the South East, a term of swimming lessons can cost around £300 per child, whilst a baby sensory class is around £100. 91% of parents said they take their children to various classes, however, 40% said they felt restricted being able to do the classes because of money worries whilst on parental leave. Polly says “I found coming from having your own money to not working very isolating”. She adds: “It is disempowering as a mum to have to ask for funds to go to classes.”
She remarks how lucky she was being supported in her decisions but that is not always the case. A parent who wishes to remain anonymous reveals “I was questioned about the cost of classes and my partner felt the spending was unjustified.” Nearly 20% of mums asked said they felt unempowered and restricted financially after having a baby.
Free classes provided by the local authority are available but some of the mums interviewed said their experiences of these free classes were not wholly positive. Gillian suggests that free classes do not require a long-term commitment from other parents and so found that participants were less willing to be sociable. She goes on to say how she paid for particular classes that were of real benefit and made sure she’d budgeted enough to do it when she had her second baby. She says “signing classes were fantastic. I felt like we were learning together and he learned to communicate with me before he could talk”. She goes on to say “I gained more confidence from that class which helped me talk to more people”.
Gift Time For Kids believes that gifts aren’t all about plastic toys and how many objects children have to open; spending quality time with your child is just as, if not more important.
Charlotte, a mum of one comments that she still has some of the toys in boxes from when her son was born 13 months ago. Charlotte adds that because money was a worry for her, she had to think carefully about whether the paid classes were worthwhile. However she found swimming lesson to be invaluable and wished she could have spent more money on classes or activities with her son. “When people give you cash, it just ends up being spent on the things you need, not the things you want for your child”.
With many parents spending hundreds of pounds each year on activities, this can be a real concern during the difficult time of parental leave. Now Gift Time for Kids offers a new way to alleviate the financial pressure and enable parents and children to reap the benefits from a myriad of classes and activities. Parents can set up a wishlist of activities as baby shower, christening, birthday or Christmas gifts and ask family and friends to contribute.
Vanessa Hilton, founder of Gift Time for Kids says “As the mum of two young girls, the result of the survey were not surprising, having experienced many of the feelings mentioned here myself. It was a real pleasure talking to other parents like Gillian, Polly, Nichola and Charlotte and hearing their journey of being a new parent. But more than that, I found their responses mimicked so many other mums I had spoken to anecdotally over the years. “
“I wanted to show other parents that they’re not alone and our feelings shouldn’t be hidden. That instead of giving that ‘oh, yes, I’m fine’ exterior, we should all be able to share that feeling of ‘no, I’ve had a terrible night’s sleep and I’m finding it hard’. It’s likely that 60% of the other parents in the room are feeling the same or have done recently”
“The reason I started Gift Time for Kids was to help parents with a genuine issue of disparity between gifts which are given and the ones which actually can help new parents. And I don’t mean this to be ungrateful to the gift giver, how are they to know? Gift Time for Kids is not just another present/experience website - I want it to help parents struggling to find the time and money to spend quality time with their children; I want it to give children the ability to start a new hobby that they wouldn’t normally be able to start and I really want to help people give a gift that is truly treasured.

Gift Time for Kids is a new innovative website that allows parents/friends to create a wishlist of activities for their child’s birthday/Christmas/Easter and baby showers. The wishlist is then distributed via email and social media to friends and family who contribute towards these activities rather than buying traditional toys.
Vanessa Hilton, owner of Gift Time for Kids
M: 07740 338280

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Create your child's Wishlist of activities on our website and ask your friends and family to contribute. Gift time, not toys.