The most important thing to Aleishia is being a good parent. And through the support of Wesley Child, Youth & Family Program, she’s taking striding steps to make it a reality.
But for Aleishia, life has brought some unexpected challenges. Her life turned upside down when the father of her two children walked out when her baby, Katherine was just three days old.
“It left me with a lot to adjust to; being a parent of two, being on my own for the first time and having a young baby again. It was a really rough time,” she explains.
As a child, Aleishia experienced her own trauma, having a dysfunctional relationship with her mother and minimal contact with her father. Despite her troubled childhood, Aleishia still never expected she’d be on her own with two small children.
“I thought we [her and her ex-partner] would overcome it and never saw it being something I’d have to do myself. At the start, I didn’t know how I’d make it through,” she says.
Finding the right support
Aleishia, mum to Zavier (4) and Katherine (now 9 months), was referred to Wesley Mission by social workers at Blacktown Hospital shortly after the birth of her second child. At the time of her referral, Aleishia was struggling to adjust to being a primary caregiver and had limited support. Social anxiety crept in and she began to doubt her own abilities as a parent.
But when Aleishia connected with her Wesley Mission support worker, things started to turn around.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect. But my support worker exceeded all expectations,” she says. “It was a relief and I felt a lot better that help was out there. She’s been amazing and we struck up a good relationship very early.”
Speaking for two hours during their first session, Aleishia’s support worker said Aleishia was open minded to trying different support services. From here they jumped into regular parent coaching sessions and together they began implementing parenting strategies over the phone, with Aleishia repeating what was said to Zavier.
“Zavier responded well, and Aleishia got an idea of what it would be like working through parenting sessions and what could be achieved,” explains Aleishia’s support worker.
Since their first meeting, with the help of her support worker, Aleishia has accessed a range of wrap around supports, including Tresillian referrals, mental health care, developmental assessments, occupational therapy and NDIS funding for Zavier, as well as many parenting courses delivered through Wesley Mission.
Growing in confidence
When Aleishia’s support worker first visited her at home, she saw she needed help with creating healthy home routines, such as cooking skills and home hygiene, as well as consistency.
Through Wesley Child, Youth & Family Program, Aleishia is completing the Circle of Security parenting program in casework sessions. She’s engaged in one-to-one support to assist with parenting strategies, infant care, child development, routines, sleep and settling.
Aleishia says that although there’s still some work to do, she’s learning the skills she needs to build her confidence as a parent.
“My relationship with my kids has gotten a lot better since working with the team at Wesley Mission and with all the help I’ve received.
Managing mental health
Having struggled with society anxiety and accessed counselling and psychologist support in the past, together with her support worker, Aleishia decided to reconnect with a counsellor to improve her mental health. With targeted support, she’s now coming out of her shell and making new social connections.
“It’s made a big positive impact on her life and has really helped when bigger challenges have popped up,” Aleishia’s support worker explains.
Aleishia says her perception of herself and how she takes care of herself has changed since connecting with her Wesley Mission support worker.
“I find life a lot easier now,” she shares. “Caring for yourself when you have two little kids is hard. But I’ve been trying to take time to factor it in because how am I supposed to care for them if I’m not caring for myself?”
Building a brighter future
Both Aleishia and her support worker agree that there’s been a real shift in Aleishia’s outlook and confidence since working together.
While it was hard at first, Aleishia has started to initiate and do things herself. She’s committed to ongoing engagement with a psychologist and with an occupational therapist for Zavier. She’s also built a close relationship with her father, who’s a great role model for her son.
Now thriving, with the support of her dedicated Wesley Mission family and community support worker, Aleishia is building a brighter future for her family.
Wesley Child, Youth & Family Program, part of Wesley Mission’s broader Family Support Services, is for families with young children, aged zero to 12, who live in the Blacktown and Hills Shire areas.
The program aims to strengthen connection and attachment between parents and their children, build social networks and connect families with relevant services in their communities. The Wesley Family and Community Support team works closely with people in need, designing care that’s individually tailored.
Although there are still some challenges ahead, Aleishia says if she’s ever in doubt, she just looks at her kids.
“They’re all the motivation I need. I keep my head up high because I know who’s watching me,” she shares.
“I don’t know where I’d be without Wesley Mission’s support, but it wouldn’t be where I am now. I feel like I’ve found a friend [in my support worker]. She pushes me in the right direction. And sometimes I do need that push.
“It feels good to have her on my side and I feel supported to move on with my life and be the parent I want to be.”
For more information or to connect with Wesley Family and Community Support, visit Wesley Child, Youth & Family Program – Wesley Mission or email email@example.com