When your child doesn’t smile you feel like you’ve failed as a parent...
That happened to me. My one year old, my Amy, didn’t smile. I think she didn’t smile because I didn’t smile and I didn’t smile because, how could I? My partner used to hurt me. We used to drink and fight and I would always get hurt. I felt alone and isolated and because I didn’t know how to cope, neither did Amy.
When my local children’s centre run by Spurgeons got involved, things started to change. We were referred by a health visitor who was concerned about Amy and my five-year-old daughter Sarah, and from the start Spurgeons were fantastic. They helped me figure out how to connect with my children again; they helped me get counselling to deal with my mood swings; they drove Sarah to school because of my broken leg; they took Amy and me to a local toddler group and they helped me meet other families, and other mothers, who knew what I was going through.
I remember, a few months into our time with Spurgeons, Amy and I were at the toddlers group and I saw her get up, walk across the hall, sit down next to another child and start playing. This girl, who was once so shy and who never smiled, was playing and laughing like any other child! I cried, I genuinely cried because for the first time since she was born I felt like a good mum. From then on I knew that, if I worked hard, I could give my children the life I had always wanted for them.
I’m back with my partner and it’s going well. Spurgeons helped us to recognise the triggers for the violence, things like alcohol, and we’ve learned to control our moods. We’re not living together yet, we’re not quite there, but with the help of Spurgeons I finally feel confident that I can give my children the life, and the family, they deserve. Thanks to Spurgeons I’ve started to rebuild my family and, thanks to Spurgeons, I’ve seen my daughter smile.