Supporting parents to make good choices
The Family Wellbeing Service received a referral this year from a local medical centre concerning Sam*, who is an older mum with two young daughters.
Sam was battling postnatal depression and was struggling to cope with her 1 and 3-year-old daughters, Abby* and Xanthe*. Abby had health issues and Sam was finding it difficult to establish a routine and keep on top of everything. We decided to send our coordinator out for a kōrero.
On our first visit, Sam was visibly distressed. Tearfully, she apologised for a messy house and shared some of her fears. She was upset at feeling unable to cope and didn’t feel able to ask her husband or in-laws for help. Now that her daughter was experiencing health problems, everything felt too much to handle, and she felt she had no idea how to talk to her husband about how she was feeling. More than anything, Sam felt alone, was scared of being judged, and wasn’t sure where to turn.
Our coordinator was able to reassure Sam and provide a kind and listening ear. We set Sam up with a weekly visit from a Parent Support Worker to help her get back on track.
At their first meeting, the Parent Support Worker and Sam hit it off. Working together, they developed strategies to help with Abby and her health problems. Sam visited a new doctor, with her Parent Support Worker alongside. Concerns about Abby’s treatment were discussed and a number of changes made, which have resulted in a hugely positive change in Abby’s wellbeing.
Sam mentioned that she would like to return to work part-time but wasn’t sure how to approach this with her husband, David*. Our Parent Support Worker helped Sam develop a plan for how to communicate how she was feeling. The outcome was better than Sam could ever have expected. David simply hadn’t realised how Sam had been feeling, and immediately offered his support. He spoke to his parents about the situation and they were willing to help any way they could. With the weight of suffering in silence lifted, Sam began to realise that she had a support network full of people willing and able to help.
Sam is now back at work two days a week, with the girls attending preschool and David’s parents assisting with pick-ups and drop-offs. Abby’s health is improving and Sam is confident in managing issues as they arise. Moving from strength to strength, the change in Sam is obvious – she now has a positive outlook for the future. David is now more aware of changes in how Sam is coping and has reached out to the Family Wellbeing Service to ensure the communication lines stay open, if they need additional support in the future.
*Names and photos have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals.