In response to the need for women in this situation to share and feel less isolated, we developed our Mummy’s Star forum. This is a private, closed group for women who have had or are currently experiencing cancer during pregnancy or the postnatal period.
Any woman who makes contact with us is offered that opportunity to join either immediately or at a later date. The group currently has over 100 members, including members of the Mummy’s Star team who administrate and support the group. Some members contribute on a regular basis, but some prefer to observe or just ask occasional questions, which seems to work really well.
The forum is very mutually supportive and some users have described it as their ‘Mummy’s Star family’. A whole range of topics, worries, sadnesses and celebrations are discussed and shared and there is always someone around for a bit of company, day or night. If an administrator notices that someone is having a particularly difficult time, then we may private message that person to see if there is any further individualised help we can offer.
No medical advice is given on this forum and women are strongly encouraged to engage with their medical team regarding any treatment issues, in line with Rule 1 of the forum use: “None of the members are medical experts. You may see advice from women who are going through, or who have gone through, lots of similar experiences to you. Please don’t make any decisions or actions solely based on the advice of any members. Always discuss your actions, worries and concerns with your own medical teams before acting on any ideas you may get from reading our group chat. Everybody’s diagnosis and side effects are different and what suits one person may not be right for another.”
Following on from the success of this forum, we noticed that women experiencing a cancerous molar pregnancy had a particular set of needs that weren’t always being met through the main group. Consequently in July 2015 we set up an additional group for those women who wished to use it in addition to the main forum. Later that year we also set up a group for women who have sadly experienced baby loss during their journey.
Other sources of emotional support can be accessed by getting in contact with our office team who, where possible, provide home visits, phone support and are very experienced in signposting women to relevant support and services which are not provided by Mummy’s Star.