Local mums in Donegal are enjoying walks, chats and support thanks to new meet-ups sparked by Killea woman Sinead Feeney.

Healthcare assistant Sinead, aged 26, struggled with post-partum anxiety after having her first baby girl, Abbie Leigh, last September.

After benefitting from mental health support herself, Sinead wanted to share her coping mechanisms with other mums.

That started with getting outside, getting fresh air and talking.

One day, Sinead invited other mums on social media to join her for a casual stroll at Inch Levels.

And so, Mummy Meet Ups were born.

In just two months, Sinead’s Facebook group has garnered over 400 members and she does a number of walks per week in the Inishowen and Letterkenny areas.

“It’s so simple, it’s so laid back, I just bring the positive vibes and hopefully people bounce off me,” Sinead says.

“A few girls have said the meet ups are their favourite time of the week.”

A recent Mummy Meet-Up

The group isn’t solely for new mums. All mammies at all stages and dads are welcome too. There’s no set structure to the walks, which means there is no pressure.

“It’s just to get people talking,” Sinead said. “If you are late it’s okay or if your wee one is unsettled and you need to leave, as I have sometimes, the others just carry on.”

Motherhood is a time of immense change and it can be ‘a little bit crazy’, as Sinead learned.

She said: “I was grand when I had Abbie-Leigh, I’m living at home with my mum and dad because we are renovating a house to move into. I had so much support around me and I wouldn’t take the help. I was being a ‘stubborn Sally’, as I would say.

“My family noticed it before I even noticed it.

“Everybody prepares you for the first trimester and the sickness, then the second and third trimester, and then labour, whereas nobody tells you how mentally challenging it is to bring this wee baby up. Nobody warns you about the change of life in the fourth trimester.”

Sinead and baby Abbie-Leigh

Sinead admits she never thought counselling was for her until she tried it. After her own struggles with post-partum anxiety, she encourages others to seek help if needed.

“It’s so easy, if you look after yourself you’re going to look after your baby so much more,” she said.

“I found it really hard to get out of the house, I had a fear of the unknown and once you get over that fear it’s the best thing ever. I wouldn’t go a day now without getting out of the house.”

Sinead’s small snippets of support extend to the positive words of affirmation she tapes to the water bottles handed out on the walks.

Totally free, the Facebook group has now inspired other mums to organise their own meet-ups in their own towns, which makes Sinead extra proud.

“I was buzzing to hear that. I don’t take leadership in the private group, I am open to suggestions,” she said.

“I literally just set a different day and time each week to keep it as easy going as possible for mamas to get out with their babies.”

Interested in joining?

Find the Mummy meet ups Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/296208466869003/discussion/preview

Or follow on Instagram: www.instagram.com/mummy_meetups

Follow Sinead on TikTok here: https://www.tiktok.com/@sineadfeeney.22