Alice and Lily

A New Parents group came to the rescue when Alice struggled to cope after daughter Lily was born.

"I wasn’t bonding well with my daughter," Alice says. "She had colic and reflux and wasn’t sleeping, so neither my husband or I were sleeping. My husband wasn’t helping with the baby, and everything was going a bit pear-shaped."

Despite the strain she was under, it took feedback from a Here’s Looking at You Baby group for Alice to recognise how much she was affected:

"They took me aside at the end of the baby group and suggested I might need some help. In hindsight it was obvious how bad things were getting."

Alice had suffered from anxiety and depression in the past, and as the pregnancy was unplanned – the couple only found out at 20 weeks that she was pregnant – they felt unprepared for the big life change. During the pregnancy she was also made redundant from her job, and things only seemed to get harder after Lily was born.

My husband went on holiday and I was left on my own. Lily was crying all the time because she was in pain from the colic and reflux. My husband wasn’t bonding with the baby and neither was I, and I wasn’t getting any help.
Alice

"It got to the stage where I was always shutting down," Alice recalls. "Lily would be screaming or crying and I would just stop. They [the baby group] were worried about her. They arranged a meeting to see what they could do to help me and to make sure my child wasn’t at risk."

We assessed the family, and set-up a meeting with a health visitor and Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PIMH) professional, who helps mothers having mental health problems. The family had regular visits at home, and Alice was signposted to a Young Parents group so she could meet mums of a similar age.

We also secured a place at nursery for Lily, which we funded for six weeks, and made a referral to the Home Start charity - they arranged for Alice to have an hour’s rest each week while Lily was looked after at home.

We helped get her husband involved, had meetings with him, and gave him information specifically for dads. We also advised the couple on child development, managing behaviour and weaning.

"They were really, really good and if it wasn’t for them I probably wouldn’t be here," Alice adds. "Lily might not have been either if things had carried on in that vein. I might have unintentionally hurt her by zoning out because of my mental health at that time. If they hadn’t intervened I wouldn’t have bonded with Lily, the house would have been a tip and I would have probably divorced my husband."

Now, Alice says, "Lily is happy, healthy and intelligent. She has boundaries, I keep her clean, she plays nicely with other children." It's been a turnaround story for the family - and things now seem to be on the up.

We are doing fine. I still have ups and downs but I’m a lot better.
Alice
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