When Bianca* found herself expecting a baby at 19 years old she knew the road ahead would be tough but with little support it was actually much tougher than expected.
Bianca had a difficult pregnancy, there were many scares and indications that she may be facing raising a special needs child. With little support from her family and friends, who abandoned her when they found out she was having a baby, Bianca was facing this battle alone.
After Bianca gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Luis*, she continued to live with her parents. This environment was very toxic and quickly became unbearable for both Bianca and Luis. Bianca struggled living in a crowded, cluttered household with her new baby. Her father did not cope with Luis crying, and at times was abusive towards both mum and baby.
These circumstances led to Bianca suffering from post-natal depression. A cruel condition, which can prohibit a mum from bonding with her baby … this was the situation Bianca found herself in.
No support, suffering depression and feeling guilty about the lack of connection with her new baby, Bianca recognised that she needed help. She started seeing a psychologist who recommended she contact Small Steps … Bianca says “that day changed my life”.
Small Steps is a live in parenting and life skills program for young mums and their babies, this program is entirely funded by generous supporters like you.
Bianca and Luis have now been at Small Steps for two months and the change is extraordinary!
When they first came to Small Steps Bianca was still suffering from postnatal depression and in a very dark place. Luis, at 5 months old, was a very ‘serious’ baby who didn’t laugh or interact with others and was behind in developmental milestones.
Bianca tells us that “within a week of being at Small Steps, Luis was rolling over, smiling and becoming vocal … things he had not been doing when we were living in the toxic environment at my parents’ house.”
Luis currently enjoys daily play dates with the other mums and babies in the program, has a clean and safe space to roll around on the floor and a loving home with his mum. All which has contributed greatly to his development.
Bianca’s mental health also improved quickly. With the support of Nonie, the Small Steps Coordinator, Small Steps volunteers and other mums in the service, Bianca’s confidence quickly grew and she soon began to bond with her Luis.
Bianca has learnt how to maintain her unit and care for and build a strong and loving relationship with her beautiful boy. She is also learning about respectful relationships, family violence and that it’s ok to expect to be treated with decency and compassion.
Bianca says “I would be living in a shelter or on the streets if not for Small Steps”.
Bianca and her baby Luis still have some hurdles to climb. Luis suffers from a stiff neck and Bianca needs to do daily exercises with him. He will also need to wear a helmet 23 hours per day for 9 months to reshape his head. However, with the support of the staff and other mums at Small Steps, Bianca and Luis are looking forward to a bright and happy future, overcoming any obstacles that come along the way.
What a difference Small Steps has made to this young mum and her baby. Thank you for keeping this young family together and off the streets.
*Names changed for privacy reasons.