A message for professionals: A New Mother's Diary Part 3
My partner's prison sentence and my support from professionals
That day when my partner's parents and I heard the words 'bail revoked' our hearts shattered. We had to wait another 6 weeks until we found out whether he would receive a prison sentence or not. In this time we had NO communication from anyone. We didn't know where he was, what prison he was being held in or how he was doing. He was swept away from us and he had nothing with him. The dread and emotion was killing me. I phoned the court, the solicitors and the prison service helpline. Eventually we located him and when I finally saw him, he was broken. There was little that I could do in his village so I returned back home to move in with my mum and dad and tried to adjust to my life without him as a single mother. It was a huge struggle as he had taken the reigns in caring for our daughter before he went inside. I was suffering emotionally and physically. The health visitors were calling me a lot but I avoided seeing them. Eventually I saw the light when my daughter became ill and I needed help. The health visitor came to meet me and she was amazing. Her support and council made me feel like I wasn't alone. I had explained about my daughter's birth and the previous health visitors' misunderstandings when she was a few days old. She understood that it was a difficult for me and that the situation of having various different professionals being involved could be confusing. She also put me in touch with Barnardo's.
My partners' sentencing came around fast and soon enough I left the comfort of my family home to return back to his parents in the village I lived in with my partner to hear his fate. He was sentenced to two years in prison. The first person I phoned was my mum and her counsel comforted me. She implored me to return back home to her and my dad. After a small period of mourning where I spent the day in bed crying I decided I had to go. Everywhere I looked there were reminders of him, my heart was broken and I needed my mum. After my readjustment to some sense of reality the words 'post-natal depression' came as no surprise to me. I was struggling and to make things worse I was nearly homeless and jobless. I was offered a place at a mother and baby unit where I had such a rollercoaster of a time; good and bad. I lived with around six other young mothers and their children. They were all much younger than my 24 years. The youngest was 17 and I very much took on a mothering role of her. I was there for seven months in all; it was an eye opening experience. By then, another two professionals were involved; a lovely support worker who was just an excellent shoulder to cry on and a Barnardo's family worker. To these people I was an independent 24 year old who had been thrust into this awful situation They knew I was strong and capable and they helped me remember this when I was at my lowest.