Barbara takes mother and baby placements
It is a big responsibility accepting a mother and baby into your home but there is so much value in doing it. You become their mentor; the person they need to be able to trust and rely on. It can be quite scary at first, for all of us. Inviting new people into your home, for it to also become their home, means they need to feel comfortable, relaxed, safe and secure. They need to feel free to use domestic appliances, you need to make sure you don’t feel as though you are losing control in your own home - it’s important to get the balance right.
Everyone needs to work together as a team and stick to boundaries so that everyone knows what everyone’s up to on a daily basis. It can be tiring working through the days and sometimes through the nights; it can seem daunting and intrusive, but it can also bring you closer together as a family. My family are very supportive of Keith and I and love to get involved (when they can) and come with us on days out. They like to feel part of our experience and the young mums and babies also seem to enjoy feeling part of our family!
Knowing how to care for a baby may come naturally to some mums but to others, having the responsibility of a baby can be quite a frightening experience. Many of them have not been taught the right things or how to care for themselves (never mind a baby). Empowering a mother and teaching her can be very rewarding.
I try to build up good relationships with the mothers that come into our homes, I let them know that I care for them - I want to help them to be able to look after their babies and to keep them with them. I also teach them to understand and have respect for the authorities and professionals.
I advise them to be true and honest and to work with all the authorities and professionals who are offering them support. I encourage them to listen to the good advice they are given which will all hopefully help to give them a chance – to be the best possible mothers to their babies, and provide them with all the help, support and expertise they need.
My social worker was very good at stepping in at the right times; advising and supporting me if and when difficult situations arose. I found her to be reassuring at times, which was very encouraging if ever I was unsure of the best actions to take.