Grateful mums' gift to NHS worker Hayley Dean for her virtual maternity support during coronavirus lockdown
An NHS worker who reached out to new mums in the Bishop's Stortford area during the pandemic has been thanked for her efforts.
Hayley Dean, a maternity associate practitioner at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, was running three breastfeeding clinics in Stortford before coronavirus struck. In lockdown, she launched virtual meetings to ensure women could still receive the support they needed.
And the grateful mums from the communities of Stortford, Sawbridgeworth, the Hadhams, Hunsdon, the Pelhams, Puckeridge, Standon, Royston and Buntingford decided to show their thanks by presenting Hayley with a special keepsake to coincide with the group's first birthday.
They surprised her with flowers and a book featuring photos of all the new mums she had helped over the past year with their new babies.
Hayley, who has two children of her own, said: "I was in complete shock – I wasn't expecting it at all. I was just doing something I felt was needed, so these lovely ladies didn't need to thank me.
"I didn't want new mums to feel isolated when we went into lockdown, so supporting each other virtually was the next best thing. Many friendships have been made over the past year and it's been beautiful to see."
The virtual meetings enabled new mums to form supportive relationships, with Hayley on hand to offer guidance on breastfeeding and maternal wellbeing.
The weekly group started with a handful of members and quickly grew to around 30 mums.
It continues to meet virtually every Thursday at 11am, with Hayley often joined by retired lactation consultant Frances Smith and baby carrier expert Jessica Kensek to answer questions and offer advice.
Hayley's manager, community midwife team leader Sally Woodhouse, said: "The success of the group is due to Hayley's enthusiasm and passion to help these new mums.
"She's totally committed to her role, and when we as midwives thank her for the support she gives our women, she always replies 'I love my job' – and she truly does."
To find out more about the group, contact Hayley by emailing email@example.com.