The young woman was a new mum to a 5 day old baby boy. She had become isolated from her family due to ongoing conflict between her violent younger sister, and mother. She also has issues with her health which impact on her day to day living. The baby’s father did not want to be part of his life, nor did his paternal grandparents. Her health visitor was aware of the support Safe Families could offer in the area, and it was on her recommendation that we went along.
After describing the help I could offer as a Family Friend, she bravely agreed to accept me into her home!
As I work full time, I went along every Tuesday evening for a few hours. She was always pleased to see me, starting each visit with a cup of tea and catch up on the week. A firm bond quickly formed between us. I didn’t mind how I helped, and knew that as a grandma to three grandchildren, it was really down to basics like making that cuppa, changing her bed, bathing the baby and getting him ready for bed, or letting her enjoy an uninterrupted soak in a bubbly bath.
The baby flourished and mum is an amazing mother, but she did miss her own mam and sister’s child, who had previously played a huge part in her life. These relationships were, and still are, very volatile, and she is often in very low mood because of them. We discuss them at length and I encourage her at every opportunity not to close the door on contact with her mam in particular as it is very challenging being a single mum. In the early days I explained how important it is to create a life for herself and the baby, by going out every day to toddler groups, for example. To her credit she did exactly this, and really pushed herself to go alone to the groups, enjoy a coffee at the community centre and also a swimming class. My motto is “This Girl Can” and asked her to also embrace this thought.
We remain good friends and now meet for tea or lunch maybe once a month, outside of the Safe Families umbrella.
On the advice of the health visitor, conciliation meetings have been arranged between mum and her mam.
She has grown into a confident young mother and is now seeking to return to work or college in an effort to build a good future for herself and her son. Of course the icing on the cake for me is when I sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to this beautiful child, as I have done since he was born, and his little hand makes the opening and closing of a star shape…priceless!
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