Raphael Services provides life-line during lockdown

First time mum, Tanya, accessed St John of God Raphael Services in Bendigo earlier this year during the height of Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown, when her daughter, Ava, was 4.5 months old.

28 Apr 2021

“Lockdown was really hard,” Tanya said. 

“I’m from interstate and I don’t have any family in Victoria. When all the restrictions came in, it meant I couldn’t go to my brother’s wedding. Then my grandfather passed away and I couldn’t attend his funeral. 

“While all of this was going on, I was trying to adjust to becoming a mum for the first time and my little girl, Ava, wasn’t sleeping.Mum and dad smiling at camera close to baby who is playing on a mat

“It all just compounded and became too much.”

Tanya’s GP referred her to Raphael Services in Bendigo, where she was able to attend her sessions via telehealth. 

“Accessing that support made a huge difference,” Tanya said. 

“I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to get things ‘right’. I’m a teacher and in a work setting, I’m used to having a fairly high degree of control. At home with Ava, I felt like I had no control and I found that really challenging. 

“Having someone explain that I didn’t need to be striving for perfection at all times really helped and it gave me so much peace be reassured that I was doing a good job. 

“I hadn’t expected that becoming a parent would bring up feelings and thoughts about how I was parented. Having someone to unpack that with was really helpful.” 

Tanya said she now has more realistic expectations of herself and makes a conscious effort to notice the small wins each day. 

“My husband used to get home and ask how my day was and when I told him that I’d achieved nothing, he would always respond by saying that I had done the most amazing job of all, I had kept a tiny human alive, safe and happy. I can actually see now that he was right! 

“I am and always was doing a good job. I’ve learned that it’s okay not to get everything ‘right’ every day and that some days I’ll feel like I’m achieving a lot and other days, I’ll be lucky if I find the time to brush my teeth! And that’s alright. 

“Raphael Services helped me to change my mindset – I now take time to notice the wins rather than the challenges or the things that haven’t gone according to plan.” 

Ava is now 9.5 months old and Tanya is enjoying watching her personality develop. 

Her advice to other parents who are struggling is to reach out for support as soon as possible. 

“As a new parent, it’s very easy to feel alone and like you’re locked in a battle with your baby that you have to figure out all by yourself. 

“I want other mums and dads to know that there is help out there and it does make a difference. I was actually surprised at just how easy it was to get help and how much of a positive impact it had. 

“If you’re struggling, you don’t have to push through it alone.”