Brenda’s story: Saving mother and child
Brenda was raised by her grandparents, but when she was 13 they passed away within the same year. With the safety and love she had known suddenly gone, she ran away to a world where homelessness, addiction and abuse were the norm.
In her early twenties, Brenda gave birth to her daughter. When Brenda's relationship broke down, she was separated from her daughter. Brenda once again struggled to stay on track. She later became addicted to ice and, since 2000, has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
When she discovered she was pregnant in early 2014, it came as a shock. “I wasn’t coping with the pregnancy, I wasn’t coping with life at all, and I ended up in hospital for a few weeks. When I came out, I got involved with Family and Community Services and they started to help me,” she recalled.
Only two hours after arriving at Mums and Kids Matter, Brenda went into labour with her son, Luke. She says having a staff member from the program there during the labour, and having somewhere to stay with on-hand support and training in parenting was just what she needed.
Through Mums and Kids Matter, Brenda received assistance and strategies for managing urges to use drugs again. She also received help to understand her mental illness, including how to see warning signs and strategies to use when these arise. After three months in the residential stage of the program, Wesley Mission helped her find a new home, set up visits from support services, and organised church, playgroup and daycare so Luke could interact with other children.
Without Mums and Kids Matter, Brenda said, “Lukey would have been taken from me and I probably would have ended my life.”