The birth of my first child was a breeze. I had a quick, easy labour, and my partner and I settled into parenthood seamlessly despite having no family around us for support.
Not so with our second child. A complication during childbirth had me on total bed rest, leaving my partner solely responsible for caring for our toddler, baby and I. I felt physically terrible for several weeks. As my body recovered, my mood dropped. I realized we needed a village to raise our two babies, yet we were all alone in BC.
That is why my midwife referred me to Spectrum. I did not truly understand what Spectrum was until I got a call from Sally. I explained our situation to her, as I was not sure we "qualified" for help. Looking back, it seems so obvious we needed help, but sometimes, we are conditioned to think we should be able to do it all on our own. Sally made me feel so welcome, and with a few kind words, put my feelings of guilt about having my referral accepted to rest.
Soon after speaking with Sally, I met Monique, the woman who was matched with our family as caretaker. I cannot say enough about her. Even though we only spent a few hours per week together, Monique stood in for the family I was missing here, and then some. Not only did she help me with practical things, but most importantly, she was completely non-judgmental and supportive. She is not a therapist, and in fact one of the ways she helped was by allowing me time to access therapy without having to worry about children interrupting. Nonetheless, it is incredibly psychologically beneficial to have someone in my life who is truly in our corner. Someone who has no preconceptions about me, and who is willing to offer help unconditionally.
I was able to get back on my feet relatively quickly, and started feeling like myself again about six months after my second baby was born. I have no doubt that timely intervention helped me recover as quickly as possible. We still struggle a bit, because parenting is hard, but we no longer need regularly scheduled care. Instead, Monique and I go for the occasional walk with the children and catch up. That ongoing relationship continues to make me feel like someone has my back if anything unexpected were to happen again, and I feel so much more secure going about my day to day life with that knowledge.
I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to Spectrum for helping me through the early days with my second child, and for continuing to be true friends to me.