Group a support to women

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 08:28 am

From left, Sam Tattersall, Sam Isherwood, Jackie Appleby, Deb Pym and Deb <br />Darbyshire come together for the Bats in the Belfry women’s support group at the Crystal Shores beach house on March 31.
From left, Sam Tattersall, Sam Isherwood, Jackie Appleby, Deb Pym and Deb
Darbyshire come together for the Bats in the Belfry women’s support group at the Crystal Shores beach house on March 31.
Phillip Currie/OWW

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dealing with the chaos of everyday life recently created a support system in the hopes of connecting with other ladies in the same boat.

Sam Tattersall initiated an all-female support group called Bats in the Belfry to give Okotoks and area women a place to come together to vent, share and learn. The meetings are free and take place the last Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Crystal Shores Beach House.

“From my own experience I feel that every women I speak to is menopausal, perimenipausal, pregnant, not pregnant and wanting to be or post natal and feeling the blues,” she said. “I thought it would be so good to have a group of women where we could all support each other.”

Tattersall is a single mother of a teenager and moved to Okotoks five years ago. She recently started a business as an integrated health care coach.

“I always had a keen interest in empowering women to make good choices,” she said. “I would like to see women connecting with other women, supporting one another. When you talk to people it’s amazing how they open up about their worries and concerns and feelings.”

Tattersall said the group is all about empowerment and she plans to do just that by having guest speakers.

A Calgary mom and spa owner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia is the guest speaker next week and will talk about the importance of being responsible for one’s own health. A Calgary dietitian will speak at the April session about health and wellbeing, Tattersall said.

The support group also aims to banish isolation women often feel among other women and give them a safe and nurturing place where they can share their feelings, she added.

“It’s amazing when you take the time to talk to somebody when you find what is going on behind that face,” she said. “You can imagine wearing somebody else’s shoes and what it must feel like.”

The support group’s name speaks to how woman can feel out of control when juggling jobs, a husband and children Tattersall said. Having grown up in the United Kingdom, Tattersall said a common expression in her home country to describe disorganized people is bats in the belfry.

“The belfry is a church tower and bats very often nest there in England,” she said. “When they get disturbed they just fly around half-hazardly in the area. We are all hormonal running around for children, running around for husbands and not taking time for themselves.”

She said there is often an expectation that women should be able to manage their lives and be great moms, workers, wives and housekeepers. It can be quite demanding on many women to keep it together and often results in them not taking care of themselves, she said.

“I really feel strongly that women should do things for themselves and not forget themselves in their busy schedules,” she said.

Bats in the Belfry held one meeting with only a few women in attendance and now Tattersall is opening up the invitation to all women in the Okotoks area for next week’s session.

“We just talked for hours,” she said of the first session. “We discussed everything from mother child relationships, grown-up child relationships, children with learning needs, relationships with husbands, weight, diet, health.”

Joining Tattersall in this initiative is Okotoks mom Deb Darbyshire.

“We wanted to create a group that was a bit of a venting place for women,” she said. “Just learn off each other for things that work and don’t work for whatever things we are going through whether it be physical or mental family issues.”

Darbyshire said the support group is an opportunity to make new friends and support other women.

“We are bats flying around in the belfry trying to deal with challenges,” she said. “We are all in the same boat. We think we are alone but we’re not.”

Darbyshire hopes the support group becomes a big success in Okotoks and a place where women feel comfortable chatting with others.

The Bats in the Belfry support group meets next on April 28 at 7 p.m. in the Crystal Shores Beach House.

To join the group on Facebook go to


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