I was in a really bad place with my three children, I’m a single Mum and they were all under five at the time and every day was a struggle. My partner was dependent on prescribed medication and he also liked a drink and that wasn’t a good mix. His behaviour was erratic and I never knew what he was going to do next. I was in fear for my children.
My life was hell just trying to keep everything normal for the children and my own sanity. I ended up going to the doctors for anti-depressants. I felt I was out of control and felt incompetent in being a Mum. It was so bad I just wanted someone to take them away – for good.
It was my family support worker who recognised my vulnerability and suggested the course. At first I was dead against it, I didn’t want anyone to know I needed help and was too proud to ask for it. And I thought I could manage anyway.
In the end they nagged me enough to give it a try. After the first session I thought it’s not for me. Then when I thought about it afterwards I realised there were others in the same dark place and what have I got to lose.
I think one of the biggest things is coming to terms with yourself in the way of believing in yourself and you can do it, it’s just being given the right tools to do it with.
Once I learned to believe in myself and I am doing the right thing, not coming from your head but it’s what you feel, that’s what’s right and what’s wrong.
I’ve got to think about myself. I’m just so much happier within myself. So much happier within my family life. My children are so much happier. I dance around the kitchen, singing or trying to and it’s just every day is a joy.
There’s always going to be times when you think awe this isn’t going to go well but then if you just practice what you’ve learned you can’t go wrong. And if I hadn’t of done the course, I don’t know where I would be to this day. I don’t think I’d still be standing.
I think that’s what really amazed me as well though because you sit there and you think I don’t know about anyone else but I thought it was just me feeling like this I thought everyone was happy in their lives. But coming to the course, you realize, God it’s everybody.
I think my tools were the expansion exercise, just focusing on one thing instead of a thousand different ones going around at the same time and listening as well because I thought I listened, I really did, during washing up, yeah that’s nice, that’s nice. But I wasn’t anywhere near it.
Actually in-depth listening, getting to the root of it, the heart of it, it’s such a difference. I thought it was that they weren’t listening to me, that they weren’t doing what I wanted them to do. And you learn it’s not that they’re not listening to you, it’s you’re not actually listening to them. The way I did that was listening and finding out about them as individuals, not as my children but as their own person and how wonderful they are.
For me, the value is being, knowing that I was in that place where the new parents are now thinking, … no one can help me. And sometimes it’s nice to reflect on that, not to forget you were there once. And reassurance that if you listen to yourself, connect with yourself, it will work out. You may not see the benefits of it straightway, but over time and they’re big, big benefits. To know I’m helping somebody, I’m able to, I’m confident enough to without thinking. It may not work for them every time but it worked and it’s sharing, sharing what worked. Trial and error.
I have a more understanding response to my children and a much better relationship. We talk, laugh and play more than we ever did, I love everything about my girls and I am a great Mum.”
Miss E. Parent