The following stories are from Successful Connections assessment specialists:
While doing rounds at the hospital, I met with a 17 year old mom who had just delivered her first baby. It was clear she was overwhelmed by the experience of giving birth and attempting to breast feed, and she explained to me that she was a high school student and had no experience with caring for an infant. She had not taken any birthing or parenting classes during her pregnancy, and felt the labor and delivery process had been far more traumatic than she had anticipated. As we spoke, she opened up to me about how unprepared she felt to tend to her newborn daughter’s needs, and was worried raising a child would also be more difficult than she’d thought. She even reported to me she was “afraid of sounding dumb” when asked questions about her baby’s future growth and development because her family and friends had all teased her for being “clueless” about community resources for families, parenting skills, and pregnancy/breastfeeding. I was given the opportunity to empower this young mother by letting her know she’d done a great job so far, and was obviously catching on quickly. I connected her to the Parents As Teachers program, and she was grateful to be offered a resource that could provide her with not only parenting guidance and information, but also a non-judgmental mentor who will be able to answer her questions and alleviate her fears about parenting and motherhood.
“Sally” had contemplated adoption throughout her pregnancy due to her child being conceived through rape. She fell in love with her baby the minute she laid eyes on him and decided she could not give him away. Sally did not have any baby items and had not prepared herself to care for this child. She contacted Successful Connections after seeing a flyer for our program. Sally was connected with needed mental health services as well as a worker through the Bright Beginnings Healthy Futures Program. With efforts of many, Sally was able to go home with a car seat, baby items, diapers, wipes, and a lot of support to help her in her journey through parenthood. Sally reports her son is healthy and she is doing great!
In December I received a call from a woman named “Allie” who was inquiring about services for herself and her family. I scheduled a time to meet with her and her two children who were 1 and 3 years old. Allie informed me she recently became clean from a methamphetamine binge that lasted nearly a year. Allie stated during her binge her small children were left with their grandmother to be cared for. Allie tearfully begged for help in learning how to be a parent to her children again. With the Department of Children’s support, Allie’s willingness to learn and change, and the help from DEC Case Management, Allie and her children are learning how to become a family once again.