To say this Maitland mothers group was popular would be an understatement.
Babes + Picnics Maitland launched in January with 35 mums and 100 members in its Facebook group.
Now, the monthly picnics average between 150-170 mums, dads, carers and grandparents and the Facebook group has 1,600 members.
Out of the 50-odd Babes + Picnics groups around Australia, Maitland is by far the largest.
“It has just exploded,” Babes + Picnics Maitland ambassador Lauren Greay said.
The group will celebrate the first birthday of the national franchise this Friday, with a jam-packed morning of fun and games at Maitland Park.
The concept was launched in Brisbane in October 2016 by Lucia de Mello.
Ms de Mello said she had a few mums contact her about forming a mums group. After the first event, she noticed a few of the mums who emailed her did not make it to the picnic.
“A few told me they made it to the park, but didn’t get out of the car,” she said.
At this point, Ms de Mello realised the social anxiety and post-natal depression that some of these mothers suffered, and how much they needed something like Babes + Picnics.
Word spread across Instagram, and soon mums all over Australia were contacting Ms de Mello about launching a group in their local area.
Maitland was one of the first 20 groups in the country. Ms Greay said she put the growth and success of the group down to the sense of community in the area.
“It’s the calibre of Maitland,” she said.
“I never wanted it to be a one-off thing. They all want to come back.”
Ms Greay said she always tried to talk to everyone at the meetings, and that the other mums made a huge effort to welcome new members.
“Even though it’s very big, it’s very intimate,” she said.
The group has received great support from local businesses, which have offered prizes for raffles, as well as local services, which offered advice and information to the parents.
Each month the picnic supports a different charity. This month the cause is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and the beneficiaries are Sands Australia and Charlee's Basket Bereavement Hampers Inc.
The guest speaker at the meeting will be Laura Grzelak from Raymond Terrace handmade basket business LINK & Luna, who will share the story of her own miscarriage.
Having suffered a miscarriage herself, Ms Greay said the topic was still so taboo, but the group had allowed her to share her own journey and not be ashamed of it.
Friday’s event will also feature a raffle, food, coffee, stalls as well as plenty of activities for the kids.
The picnic starts at 9.30am. For more information visit www.facebook.com/groups/babesandpicnicsmaitland