Parramatta Catholic Foundation supports works of Faith, Hope and Charity across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Our current appeal seeks to build support for CatholicCare’s Project Elizabeth pregnancy support service. If you can help, please click here to donate today.
“My name is Natalie from CatholicCare’s Project Elizabeth program.
I’ve been in this role since September 2019, however, I have been working with families since 2011.
The Bringing Baby Home program is a positive parenting initiative that I was trained in even before I became a social worker. I was a participant myself in Bringing Baby Home when I was pregnant with my first baby. As a first-time mum, it was all new and very complicated for me.
I remember how overwhelming being a first-time mum was. No books or anything anybody tells you, can ever really prepare you for it. The first year, particularly as a first-time mum, you’re trying to figure it all out, you have no idea.
Bringing Baby Home is not like other parenting programs in that it focuses specifically on babies under two. This program, I found, was helpful in raising awareness of the different things you need to know, such as forming a positive attachment, what the different types of cries might mean, the importance of dads, what dads can do, managing post-natal depression, and how to parent together.
Working for Project Elizabeth, I get to work with families and babies for 12 months. You need to have that time to build rapport with families so that they can trust you enough as a social worker to be able to talk about the issues that they are having. Then you can help them with everything, not just the issues on the surface. You really want to make sure that they’re equipped.
We support a lot of single mums, and especially those who have been finding it difficult being isolated from their families during the coronavirus pandemic.
I’m not there to judge, I’m there to guide. I try hard to be very understanding and give families suggestions and talk about how to do things differently.
A lot of the families that I work with have previously had babies removed from their care. They are all trying to do a good job as a parent. We can only do what we know, and we learn our parenting from our parents. Unfortunately for some people, if they weren’t given a good example, then it’s hard to know what the right or best thing for their own kids is.
My clients Dale and Sharen are just amazing. They’ve done phenomenal work with me. They contacted CatholicCare as soon as they found out they were pregnant, because they wanted to do everything they could to give their baby the best start in life.
They are very keen to finish the Bringing Baby Home program, which is great, especially for Dale because he’s not been a dad before. He’s thriving and he’s such a beautiful dad with his baby.
Just watching both Sharen and Dale interact with their little man is just adorable. It was very heart-warming to see that they both love this little boy, and they are both beautiful with each other too. They are both supportive of each other.
Having that support and having this knowledge is certainly a blessing. The only way to be able to make sure that other families can get this knowledge and information is by having services like Project Elizabeth offer, that support them.
I think a lot more babies would be in care, rather than being able to live with their families, if this program wasn’t around.
This Christmas, you can help Natalie and CatholicCare to support more people Sharen, Dale and baby Jackson, and keep families together.
To give a gift of help and hope, click here to donate today.