A little bit over a year ago, my husband got a job offer here in Vancouver. We moved from Calgary with our then 4 month old daughter, Emily. We were excited about the move, but at the same time worried as we didn't know anyone here. We didn't have any friends in BC and our families were back in Ontario and Colombia. We knew we had only each other to count on in raising Emily.
After we moved, things started getting pretty hectic. My husband was flying for work and also working long hours. I had no one to help me with Emily, and I was completely exhausted. I had a very hard pregnancy and a difficult emergency c-section, so I hadn't really recovered much. I definitely had post-partum depression as I stopped looking and caring for myself, and didn't have enough energy to look after Emily.
I felt guilty as I had this little incredible and healthy daughter after 5 years of trying to conceive, miscarriages and several rounds of IVF. I felt guilty for being tired. I felt guilty for wanting a few hours for myself. I felt like a bad mom.
After telling my Public Health nurse how I was feeling, she referred me to your program. At first, I didn't know what to expect as Emily had only been with me. She didn't know anyone besides her mom and dad. I was reluctant to leave her with a stranger, and that made me feel even worse. However, I knew I had to do something about it, so I decided to give it a go.
When the day came to meet Anne-Louise, I was nervous. I didn't tell my husband much as I didn't want him to think I wasn't able to look after our daughter on my own. When I opened the door, a friendly and smiley face greeted me. She was extremely sweet and gentle with Emily.
Even though it took Emily a few visits to finally warm up to Anne-Louise, by the 4th visit they were best pals! I felt as if I was leaving her in my mother's hands. She played with her, took her out for walks, put her down to nap, fed her, changed her diaper, and most importantly, cared for her and loved her.
I honestly felt that I had finally done something right. Anne-Louise was a godsend to us. She genuinely loved spending time with Emily. Not only did she support me with Emily, but also she motivated me to start looking after myself and to go out, get some fresh air and enjoy my alone time.
With Anne-Louise help, I was able to be myself again. I was able to come back re-energized from my alone time and be a better mom to Emily. I was able to give Emily the gift of a loving grandma figure in her life.
I'm eternally grateful to yourselves, to your amazing program, and of course, to our dear Anne-Louise. Even though we moved to Port Moody, to reduce our high rent costs, I still keep in touch with Anne-Louise. It was a hard decision to move out of North Van and give up such an invaluable person, but at the same time I knew it was time for her to support another mom that was struggling just as I was. She's just too fantastic to not share.
Thank you very much, from the bottom of my heart, for all the wonderful work you do supporting mothers like myself. You're making such an impact and big difference in everyone's lives you help. I wished there were more programs like yours available to mothers in the country. Motherhood can be lonely and difficult if you don't have a support systems. It definitely takes a village to raise a child!