What moms say:
"I struggled with postpartum anxiety and depression after my son was born 3.5 years ago. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. With lots of love and support from family, friends and a great doctor, I saw that chapter come to an end. But then we had our daughter, and it all came flooding back with vengeance. Add to that a colicky baby, months of broken sleep, parenting my three year old and I couldn’t cope anymore. It was my counselor that mentioned Spectrum to me. At first my pride swelled up, and I felt uncomfortable at the idea of a stranger coming to watch my kids to give me time for my self, but as my life came crumbling down around me I finally decided to seek help. And then we met Julie. My son took to her like he knew her his whole life. And if you know him, that’s no small feat. Her ability to engage and play with him just wowed me. As soon as she stepped foot in the door he would stop whatever he was doing and immediately ask her to play with him. And she did! Never once did she complain or direct his play, she just gave him the attention he needed that I wasn’t able to give him at that point. Over the next few months I began to slowly climb out of the pit and my baby started to sleep better and we came to a place where I finally could stand on my own two feet. Spectrum gives hope and life back into hopeless and lifeless situations. I will forever be grateful".
"When finally we were able to bring our little baby home, afte two long weeks, we were down to dealing with life. I did not know what to expect.
I had heard about this organization a few times through the Facebook North Vancouver mom group, but I didn’t think we deserved it. Our baby’s pediatrician pushed me to just give it a try.
Julie came and just changed my life. She is the family I don’t have here, so caring, loving and thoughtful. There’s nothing I can do to pay what she has done for us, for our baby. She is and will always be family. Our baby loves and trust her, and that makes our hearts warm and happy. Her face lights right up when she sees her.
I can’t imagine what our life will be with out her... she is an amazing person that gives her all to others with the most pure and selfless love. I am so thankful for this organization. We love you."
"I really didn't have anyone else to call, and our public health nurse connected us with Spectrum. Our baby had colic and was crying for hours every day, my toddler was acting out, and I didn't know what to do. I find it really hard to ask for help, but at this point I really was getting concerned that the marital problems, financial stress, sleep deprivation, was effecting my ability to cope and parent my children. Having a few hours to spend with my eldest, to swim, to play at the park, without a crying baby on my hands changed our lives.
It seems like a small thing, but when you have no one else to call, having regular scheduled support means you are not alone with your problems. We regained some sanity in our household, the toddler behaviour improved and I felt tremendously better after a break from the fussing baby. Having someone kind, reliable, non-judgemental, and experienced to lend an ear, visit my home, and hold my baby made a world of difference. I can't think of a better way to help new mothers who are struggling. I am so grateful for this support".
"I don't have enough words to express my gratitude for what you do. Spectrum has made one of the most difficult times in my life bearable. I could not have got through any of this without your support. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done for me and my children".
“My amazing little girl was having life-threatening seizures and the subsequent treatment was a horrible one. The drugs ravaged her body and left her sleepless and moaning in discomfort. We live far away from family and having no help, along with the stress of my daughters diagnosis, was too much. Enter Julie, our saving grace. Thanks to Spectrum I get a few hours each week to be myself not caregiver. Julie is so good with my daughter. I feel confident to leave not just physically but mentally and that has made all the difference.”
“The day that Rachel came to my house, Margot had been crying for what seemed like forever, and I was exhausted. When I met her, I was immediately struck by how kind and lovely she was. She held Margot and made me feel like I was doing a good job. From the first moment, she gave me the reinforcement I needed. This is what Spectrum does. It’s more than giving someone time to do the things you need to do. It’s knowing that someone is there who knows what you are going through, and can help. It’s knowing that there is someone who can give you a little bit of a break when you might need it most. It’s knowing that there are people out there who care, and want to help.”
“With help from Spectrum, I have been able to get my life on track and have enrolled in full-time schooling to provide a better life for me and my son.”
– Mother struggling to leave an abusive relationship
“It was so hard to ask for help. I felt so guilty anyway, but Spectrum understood, no questions or judgement, just a friend to help.”
– 18-year-old mother with an unplanned pregnancy
What caregivers say about helping moms
Spectrum’s clients are all ordinary mums like myself, who love their kids to bits and want to do the best for them. I have loved getting to know and building a relationship with them. For some of our client mums, our help may just mean that their kids can have some fun and stability during a short-term crisis, but for other families out support can potentially mean the difference between them keeping their children, or them being taken into care. I think that is worth putting energy into!
– Julie, Caregiver with Spectrum since 2009
I cannot think of a time in my life when I have done anything more rewarding than being involved with Spectrum. After a long and exhausting day at work, I thought I might not have enough energy to help a family. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces as my daughter and I walk through the door is all I need to feel I am in the right place at the right time. When it is time to leave, my energy is restored and I have a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart. I am so happy to be involved in spectrum and I have only just started.
– Denise, Caregiver with Spectrum since 2012
What others say about Spectrum
“I want to make special mention of Jessica, Spectrum’s doula….Jessica makes herself available all hours of the day or night to support a woman through labour and in the initial postpartum period. She is kind, compassionate, and nonjudgmental. She is a very effective advocate for her clients and she truly makes a difference in the lives of the women she supports.”
– Jessica Dragojevich, Registered Social Worker, Lions Gate Hospital, Pediatrics and Maternity Units
"On behalf of the Public Health nurses working on the North shore I want to thank Sally Livingstone and the Spectrum organization for the invaluable service they provide. For many years there was no real hands-on support available for North shore women with limited financial means. Public health nurses often felt worried about their vulnerable clients who lacked support when bringing home their newborn baby.
Sally Livingstone has established an extraordinary resource for moms on the North Shore. Public Health nurses are eternally grateful for Sally's vision. Spectrum Mother's Support Society is a breath of fresh air on the North Shore and we are so pleased that the Caregivers volunteer and work for this important non-profit organization".
-Joan Brown, Program Lead for the Early Years Team - VCH, North Shore