BAMBI Bumps is 40
Published on: June 13, 2022
To celebrate BAMBI’s birthday, a few past and current team members have shared what being a Bumps volunteer has meant to them. We also hear from some of the moms who attend Bumps & Babies sessions to find out a little about how being part of the BAMBI community has made a difference in their lives.
By Emma McNerlin
This year we celebrate BAMBI’s 40th birthday, an immense achievement from very humble beginnings. Did you know that BAMBI began in 1982 with a group of just seven new and expecting mothers brought together by Melanie Habanananda, a dedicated midwife and wife of Dr Tanit, the founder of the natural birth movement in Bangkok? Much has changed since then, but what has remained the same is that the moms who come through BAMBI Bumps today still crave a connection with other mothers and guidance from the BAMBI Bumps team—birth professionals dedicated to supporting them.
Over the years the Bumps & Babies baton has been passed on to many wonderful birth workers. I am privileged to have been a part of the Bumps team for almost seven years, allowing me to continue to use my knowledge and experience as a midwife. To celebrate BAMBI’s birthday, a few past and current team members have shared what being a Bumps volunteer has meant to them. Here’s what they had to say.
Our Bumps volunteers
“I was lucky enough to volunteer with some wonderful women in BAMBI, no more so than the Bumps team, rich in knowledge, experience and perspectives, which served the community with compassion and humor. I also became a mother during my time with BAMBI and was able to experience firsthand the gentle power of the Tuesday morning New Moon coffee meet up which held space for those who were struggling, and built friendships that have lasted way beyond Bangkok. Congratulations to BAMBI on its 40th birthday.”
— Fran Safaie (Bumps Team 2013–2017)
“It was wonderful to find BAMBI Bumps & Babies and become part of its volunteer group when I first arrived as it provided me with the opportunity to connect with the expat community, to give back, to support others, and find fulfillment while forging beautiful friendships along the way.”
— Iasnaia Maximo (Bumps Team 2017 to present)
“Being a volunteer at BAMBI Bumps & Babies meant so much to me! Bumps was one of the first places I volunteered after arriving in Thailand. As I did not know anyone, it became a place where I felt welcome, where I belonged, where I was able to give a little of myself to do something fun for other women like me and their babies, and where I could try to make their breastfeeding journeys better. I loved my time there and wouldn’t change it for anything.”
— Lia Segall Pasternak (Bumps Team 2017–2020)
“The BAMBI committee: the trailing spouses, those saturated in parenthood, those with something to offer the world in the absence of formal employment, and those who felt they had nothing to offer—the committee took us all in. We were put to work for the cause, talents were released, debate was had, new skills were cultivated, and friendships were forged. As hoped for, the community enrichment came, but in return for the hours spent, something else happened: that same enrichment rained down and hydrated our lives. So BAMBI secured a corner of our hearts and made it almost impossible for many of its committee members to leave . . . Happy 40th birthday and long live BAMBI!”
— Emma Lawrence (Coordinator 2013–2016)
Now in its 40th year, BAMBI Bumps moves under new stewardship with British midwife Joanna Cox taking over from me as the Bumps coordinator. Jo brings new energy and passion to the role, relaunching BAMBI Bumps as we move beyond the COVID era. Here are a few words from Jo:
“As a midwife by profession, I am thrilled to be engaged as the BAMBI Bumps & Babies coordinator at such a critical time following an extended period of hibernation. While the prolonged COVID-19 restrictions have challenged the Bangkok parent community in many ways, alternative and positive support initiatives have also emerged, and these should be celebrated. As coordinator of the Bumps team, I aim to gain a clear understanding of the current needs of expectant mothers and new families in Bangkok, and to strengthen the necessary links through information and referrals to providers. With the expert contribution of the Bumps team and close collaboration with maternity service providers in the city, I believe this should be achievable.”
— Jo Cox (Bumps & Babies Coordinator)
Our Bumps moms
We also heard from some of our Bumps moms to find out more about what BAMBI Bumps & Babies means to them.
The BAMBI membership fee is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. Going to Bumps & Babies has found me new best friends that I never thought I would have after having babies in a country I’d never lived in before and where I didn’t know anyone. Having mommy friends has healed me from my depression and anxiety; just being part of a supportive group and able to hear and share experiences of being a new mother makes me a better person and a better mother.
— Hilda Anita
My journey of motherhood became more special when I shared it with other mums and friends who came into our lives through BAMBI. The playgroups and support which BAMBI gives to us mothers is priceless as it just makes the whole experience more wonderful and memorable. I would really like to thank all the BAMBI volunteers and coordinators for their efforts and help. We are glad to be part of the BAMBI community. Thank you for guiding and helping us when we needed it the most!
— Pragya, and 2-year-old Tavish
My family moved to Thailand in August 2020 with our three-month-old baby. As a first-time mom at that time, everything was new. I had no family support except my husband, and not as many friends as I had back at home.
When I learned about BAMBI, I went along to Bumps & Babies, and joined the group right away. This was the best decision I made at that time because my baby and I were both able to meet some amazing friends through BAMBI. Since then, we’ve been able to share and ask for lots of information—and no more loneliness! I really appreciate BAMBI for organizing playgroups and events for us to attend and for what they do to help the community.
I started going to Bumps sessions when I was pregnant with my first baby, and meeting Emma and the team opened up a whole new world for me. Following my first session, I changed doctors and hospital and ended up having an unmedicated vaginal birth, which my previous doctor had not been supportive of. Then, with my newborn, they provided so much support, information, and a safe space to talk openly about the highs and lows of becoming a mother. From these sessions I also met my mama friends, who I couldn’t do motherhood without! Forever grateful to them.
Thank you to all of our Bumps & Babies volunteers, past and present, for everything you do.
Your support changes lives!
About the Author
Emma McNerlin is a UK trained and registered midwife, first aid instructor, and owner of Bumpsy Daisy Café and Community; a cafe and parenting community centre for new and expecting parents offering birthing classes, hypnobirthing, first aid workshops, and baby classes.
The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects. BAMBI Magazine welcomes volunteer contributors to our magazine. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.