As a working parent, Aminah* and her family found the pressures of lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic a challenge. The support she received from HENRY was a lifeline.
When I came onto the course it was during the pandemic. I was working from home; my partner was too. He was in a job where he was so busy, he wasn’t able to even leave his desk for lunch sometimes. So, I was trying to work, home-schooling my older two children and managing a toddler, who was only two, all at the same time. It was very, very challenging and mentally very draining. It made me realise, perhaps for the first time in my life how important good mental health is to help you to cope. I don’t like to think about it but when I do reflect back on that time, it really does get me down. Things were so hard I sometimes felt I wanted to give up, I couldn’t cope anymore. And when I talked about things like this with my friends, they didn’t understand that I was really struggling. We’d all laugh it off but in my heart, I had really negative thoughts. If it hadn’t been for HENRY, I don’t think I’d be here now.
On the HENRY programme, we looked at ways to improve family life and ways to boost our mental health as parents and carers. In my family, we decided to do family pamper sessions. We started off with little massage sessions, we all got our foot baths out, and did foot massages. It was lovely, so lovely. The children were happy and I was happy seeing them so happy. And slowly, slowly we’ve built on from that. Doing the course has really changed the way I speak and the way I discipline the children. I felt I was quite harsh in my tone before the programme but I learnt ways of saying the same thing but in a different way. It’s really helped strengthen the bonds between me and my kids. I’ve shared what I learnt with their Dad and months later we’re still using the principles I learnt. We’re healthier and happier and I put that all down to HENRY.
Online was great for me. It was quick, convenient, no need for babysitting, or parking. But as well as all that, it can be a bit daunting attending a course, meeting new people, especially for someone with mental health issues. If you had to go out, you might decide not to do it all. At home I felt so comfortable, I could just be myself. I wish I’d done it earlier but the difference it’s made to the whole family now is just amazing. I’m so glad I was able to do the course, I’ll be forever grateful to HENRY.
* names have been changed to protect identities. Photo used is a stock photo.
If you’ve been inspired by Aminah’s story and would like to sign up for HENRY support, register here. Once you’ve submitted your form someone will call you back. All babies and children deserve the best start in life but the reality is that many miss out, especially children from disadvantaged families or living in the most deprived areas. Please support our work, so we can help more families like Aminah’s. You can donate here. Thank you.
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