News & Views

14th Jul, 2017

A message for professionals: A New Mother's Diary Part 5

Advice for professionals and other new mums with a loved one in prison.

Advice for professionals and other new mums with a loved one in prison.

So now you have heard my story. Wow it's been one hell of a ride! I think it's fair to say that pregnant women and new young mums should never have to experience extra difficulties when somebody they love is going through the criminal justice system. Below are a few messages to the professionals who have helped me and others like me, along the way. To all the people who are supporting people like myself through turbulent times in our lives I say? THANK YOU! Whilst not everything is always going to help it's always great to know that there is somebody there; a shoulder to cry on or someone to rant at. To all the prison officers, police, court staff and social workers - I highly commend what you do within the harsh environment you work in. I've witnessed the strain and the stresses you face day in and day out assessing people's crimes, protecting their victims and evaluating them for release. Please don't forget the wellbeing of other victims out there; the families of people involved in the criminal justice system. To the many prison officers who I speak to on a first name basis and who have watched my daughter grow from a tiny infant to a walking toddler: I shall always remember your kindness and support. To my health visitor: Words cannot express my gratitude enough. What you have done for me and my daughter in her first year has practically saved me. The sheer dedication and council you offered me during the hardest of times has been invaluable and I shall take it with me forever. To my Barnardo's family support worker: When I was offered your support, I wasn't sure. I had never heard of you and frankly I wasn't interested as I didn't believe that it would do me any good. I was wrong. The support that you offer people in the hardest of situations is so unique and excellent. In the past I had talked about criminals' families being overlooked but it is here that your hard work and professionalism shines through. You should keep doing what you're doing- it works!

My advice for other families is not to be alone in the shadow of a loved one's crime. It was for a long time before I was presented the opportunity for help and advice from Barnardo's. It seriously made such a difference in the way I looked towards my future. Similarly, my advice to new mothers who are afraid of judgement or hindrance from Health Visitors; they are there to HELP! I was reluctant at first but I was proven so wrong. Honesty and confidence in these people will help you progress into motherhood without worry. My journey down this long and painful road is not finished and will continue for years to come. I shall come up against hard and conflicting challenges that will test and try me. But I am comforted to know that I can be open and seek the support that has so kindly been provided. Please remind people who have a loved one involved in the criminal justice system that they are never alone in their darkest hour. Whether it's their family, friends, health visitor, GP or support worker they are all there for a reason - to help!

One final thanks ? Mum and Dad. Family can be the best source of support, help and guidance.

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