Tuesday 15th December, 2020

Promoting young parents' wellbeing

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Promoting young parents' wellbeing

Romsey Mill works with over 150 teenage mums and young first-time fathers (up to 25 years) each year, offering specialist support in one-to-one and group settings.

With the closure of baby groups and the restrictions on face-to-face contact during the Covid-19 lockdown, our Young Parents workers were concerned about the emotional and psychological well-being of young families coping in isolation.

Throughout the lockdown, the Young Parents Programme team made phone and video calls to continue providing vital support for isolated mums and conducted virtual antenatal groups for teenaged expectant mums. The team also continued to provide one-to-one support, often meeting in the gardens of people homes, or other outdoor spaces.

June*, one of the young mums, reflected on her experience this year, with daughter Mae* and her hope for the future (*not their real names):

“Being alone in the lockdowns was the biggest challenge that I’ve faced. Having a one year old daughter is challenging as it is, but in a global pandemic it is even harder!"

"There was a period of 3 weeks when Mae and I were ill. Mae was in hospital briefly because of a cough and really high temperature, but they didn’t test for Coronavirus. About a week later I became ill though and tested positive for the virus. It was really hard not seeing family and having to do everything on for Mae on my own even when ill."

"Romsey Mill helped me so much, just knowing I could just pick up the phone and someone would answer."

Romsey Mill’s groups normally provide an important space as individuals realise that they are not alone in their experiences or struggles, learn new ideas of things to do with their children, form friendships which develop beyond the limits of the group and give structure to what might be quite an empty week.

Our Young Parents Programme Outreach and Engagement Worker, Judith, consulted with young parents about what they might find helpful at that time. June came up with the idea of Wellbeing Bags and Judith set to work!

Judith said:

“Sourcing the contents of the bags was a little tricky in lockdown, but the bags were put together and then hand-delivered to families. Each of these visits took place at an appropriate social distance on driveways or in hallways of blocks of flats. While these visits were not long in duration they were very well received, and it was a significant moment of re-connection and interaction with young mums and dads.”

“Each paper bag contained a selection of resources (paint, chalk, play-doh cutters, sugar paper, plaster of paris etc) to use with the babies, but also a mindfulness colouring book, coloured pencils and a sharpener, some toiletries and recipes for mums. Expectant mums got slightly altered bags with a few more things for them! This was all possible thanks to a financial gift from Cambridge Vineyard Church.”

June, spoke about how important they were for her and Mae, during lockdown.

“The idea for the well-being bags came after Judith texted me and asked whether I could think of anything that would help people feel connected, be distracted from the stress of lockdown life or give ideas of what to do with their children.”

“I discussed it with my mum, and we came up with the idea of bags of things like paint and colouring, things to make and maybe show each other when this was all over.”

“And I loved painting with Mae. We did hand and footprints and made pictures. We also used all the paper and the pencils.” 

June also spoke of her hope for the future, saying:

“In 2021 I’m looking to spend as much time with family as possible as life’s too short and you need to have people you love around you as much as possible because tomorrow is never promised.”

 

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June and Mae's pictures:

 

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June and Mae's paintings