‘We’re proud to have co-written this Wellbeing for Mothers & Babies training and to see such fabulous results.  Thank you for sharing this wonderful article with us Leone Connery’

I am an IAIM trained CIMI and have been practicing for the last nine years. I’m always on the look-out for new learning opportunities for the families I meet, especially in my work as a Perinatal & Under 1’s Worker with One YMCA, where families, often with complex needs, are referred to me for support and guidance. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for emotional and wellbeing support rocketed so when I heard about the ‘Wellbeing for Mothers & Babies’ course I knew this was something I had to pursue.

I completed my training as an instructor in December 2021 and delivered my first course in January 2022 working with a mum and her baby who has additional needs. We’d worked together previously for baby massage and Rachel had spoken about the constant hospital visits and baby’s need for 24-hour care, so I knew she would really benefit from an opportunity to look in to her own self-care.

To give a little background, Millie was born at full term but suffered a significant brain injury due to lack of oxygen around the time of her birth. She was delivered by an emergency caesarian section due to Foetal distress and subsequently suffered a series of neonatal seizures, leaving her with developmental issues and uncertainty about her future.

Mum is a SENCO teacher and has good insight in to effective methods for working with children with additional needs. However, the impact of being a first-time mum with a baby with special needs presented her with her own challenges. We decided to feel our way through the course, taking each week as it came. I was a little anxious as I was keen for a positive and productive outcome for all.

Week 1 began with the shocking news that Millie had suffered a seizure just after Christmas, almost a year to the day of her first. Mum was understandably traumatised and needed to talk and this we did, at length. I listened and Rachel talked. It was immediately clear that her daily focus was Millie with no time afforded to herself. We discussed the negative impact of this on her own health and wellbeing. So, I set Rachel a series of weekly tasks to begin her journey of self-care, such as learning to ask for help, and doing something for herself by taking time out and not feeling guilty about it!

Millie was a star throughout, responding well to the interactive songs and rhymes with mum. She seemed fascinated by mum’s Self-care Breathing & Stretching Exercises, proving to mum that she can have time to herself even with Millie present. This ‘me time’ helped Rachel to see that Millie was needing less hands-on support and was growing in her ability to amuse herself for longer periods.

At the beginning mum admitted to doing very little for herself, other than electing to return to work one day a week, which was tinged with a hint of guilt. However, by the end of the course, Rachel said:

“It raised my awareness of the importance of self-care and how this actually benefits my baby too. I need to check in with myself from time to time. It was just so lovely to have the opportunity to
reflect on the week, identify the positives and take time to think about the times when Millie made me smile!”

What joy to witness on the very last day, Millie mirroring mum’s hand movements to ‘Mr. Sun’ and with such a beaming smile! An incredible honour to play a small part in the journey of one very courageous mum and the most wonderful little girl!