What we do

We at ‘One Mother To Another’ provide care packages to mums and carers (including some dads/ grandparents/ foster parents) who find themselves going through a difficult time in hospital with a sick child as well as mothers who are going through their own health journey while juggling motherhood.

Through the simple act of gift giving, we care for and empower parents and whānau with sick babies and children.

Our aim is to comfort and support mums (and carers) who are in hospital in what can be a very vulnerable and distressing time. We try to bridge the gap between 2 strangers and offer understanding and acknowledgement of their difficulty but mostly we want to put a smile on their face and let them know we care about what they are going through. We hope in some way to brighten their day.

Who We Support

We currently provide care packages to the following wards:

Canterbury

Christchurch Hospital’s Children’s Emergency Care Department, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Paediatric Ward A7, Paediatric Ward B7, Child Haematology Oncology Centre

Hillmorton Hospital’s Whangai Aroha Unit (formerly the Mothers and Babies mental health service), The South Island Perinatal Mental Health Service Community Team (SIPMHS) (formerly Mothers and Babies Community Mental Health Service for outpatients), and Child Adolescent and the Family Inpatient (CAFI) Services.

We donate special mens packs to Christchurch hospital each month.

Nursing staff at Christchurch hospital receive Christmas care packs and monthly morning tea during the year.

Timaru Hospital

Otago

Dunedin Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 

Nelson/Blenheim

Neonatal Ward

Paediatric Ward

Wairau Hospital Special Care Babies Unit

West Coast

Te Nīkau Grey Hospital

Southland

Neonatal Ward

Other

Perinatal Wellbeing Canterbury

Nurse Maude Hospice

Pregnancy Support Nelson

We currently provide over 420 care packages each month as well as extra packs for Mothers day, Fathers day and for Christmas.

“Ko te whaea te takere o te waka.”

Mothers are like the hull of the canoe, they keep the family together.

Maori proverb

How the packs are distributed

It’s important to us that EVERY mother who is in a neonatal or special baby care unit in the South Island receive a care package– regardless if they are in the unit for one day or one month. They are distributed on arrival by the wonderful staff in these wards.

In the other paediatric wards we support, we provide a number of care packages which the nursing staff give to those they deem as most in need of the support.

Every mother in Hillmorton’s mother’s and babies unit receives a care package during their stay.

Our Why

One Mother to Another knows that taking care of a hospitalised child is one of the most stressful and difficult tasks a parent can face. In light of the substantial anxiety and social, mental and physical stresses involved, our care packs aim to offer support in a particularly vulnerable time.

Research has found that parents of premature babies, in particular mothers, are at risk of developing higher levels of anxiety, depression, anger and stress. The research further states that “starting to support parents of preterm children from the very first moment after birth in order to reduce possible further negative consequences on preterm babies would be necessary” (IIonio, Chiara et al. 2016). Other studies have shown that thinking about their babies as sick and in danger is very stressful for parents, and it may bring them to an emotional crisis (Alkozei et al., 2014; Franck, Cox, Allen, & Winter, 2005).

 Research from Dodge, A et al. discusses how “The neonatal experience was often recounted as emotionally exhausting for parents…many parents felt their needs were overlooked and that offering more mental health resources would be welcomed.  (Dodge, A et al., Exploring the needs and coping strategies of parents in this setting, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 58 (2022, 1060-1065). 

One parent recalled: I felt only useful to feed my baby. Their sole concern was for my baby and there was no support offered for me. I feel like that’s why I can spontaneously cry when I think about that time, even though my boy is thriving now (Mother, 33 years old)” pp1063 .

We primarily give care packs to mothers as they more commonly experience significantly higher stress compared to fathers. This includes anxiety, guilt, loss of control, helplessness, fear, uncertainty, disappointment, alienation, sadness and other negative emotions related to an unexpected parenting role and the poor health of her newborn. Parents need extra assurance during this period, which comes from the medical professionals working with their child but we believe the empathy and kindness of another parent can also have a significantly positive impact on the concerned parent.

Maternal mental health is an ongoing challenge in NZ with around 15% of mothers suffering from postnatal depression. According to the NZ government’s Healthy Beginnings report, the onset of mental illness for women has been shown to be higher around the time of childbirth, and that maternal mental illness in the postpartum period has been shown to have a detrimental effect on the emerging mother-infant relationship and other family and whānau relationships (Ministry of Health. 2012. Healthy Beginnings: Developing Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Services in New Zealand).

Where We Began

One Mother to Another was started by two Christchurch mothers who personally experienced the distress and fear of having a child in hospital and became determined to ease the burden on others in that position.

In 2016, mother-of-two Christina Buckland took her toddler Arabelle to the GP to check what she thought was just a nappy rash. The GP rushed the pair to Christchurch Hospital’s Children’s Acute Assessment Unit for further testing for possible meningitis.  Thankfully it wasn’t meningitis, but it was very a stressful, emotional and difficult day. While in hospital, Arabelle was given an age appropriate ‘goodie’ bag full of things to entertain her. It gave Christina the idea to put a package together for the mum or carer in an effort to encourage them and improve their day too.  A few weeks later Christina personally made 10 gift bags and delivered them to the ward for the nurses to distribute.

Her friend Joy Reid (also familiar with the perils of having a child in hospital) thought it was a great idea and the pair began asking local businesses for support. Together they grew the initiative into a charity which regularly provided hundreds of gift bags each month for mums and carers in Christchurch’s Children’s Acute Assessment Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  The focus on neonatal units came about because Joy Reid’s son and daughter spent their first days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

One Mother to Another has always been built on personal experience and has, over the years, continued to grow.  It is now lead by Joy Reid who, having re-experienced the trauma of having a child in hospital with her third child in 2021, has expanded the provision of care packs to include more wards, including paediatric medical and surgical wards.

Joy and Geoff Reid are supported by a board, small staff and a team of dedicated volunteers who are committed to easing the burden on those in hospital with a child.