Meaningful Support for Difficult Days
“I felt comfortable [at Stork Secrets] because I knew it was safe to share.” Lorena, Stork Secrets program participant
When Lorena was pregnant with her first child, she and her husband had recently moved from Toronto to Kitchener. With no family in the region and no family doctor, she felt alone and concerned. Lorena was referred to a nurse practitioner at Grand River Hospital. “She explained how to prepare myself for the baby,” says Lorena. The nurse also suggested that Lorena look for a pregnancy program at Our Place.
Lorena appreciated that Our Place talked about more than “how to change diapers and what car seat to buy.” The program facilitator told her about other local programs and resources, including the Breastfeeding Support Program. Staff also encouraged her to put her name on a waiting list for local daycare right away. “I wouldn’t have known to do that,” says Lorena, who got a daycare space for her daughter when she went back to work.
The transition from a busy work and social life to being at home with an infant was hard for Lorena. “My husband had to go back to work right away. So I was by myself all the time.” Feeling lonely and isolated, she packed up her 5-week old daughter and dropped in at Our Place at the Family Centre on Hanson Avenue. “The Our Place staff made me feel welcome. It was refreshing!” Later, when her daughter was five or six months old, she joined a program to learn to massage her baby. Lorena also began attending a Stork Secrets group to take care of her mental health. “At first, I just listened. The other mothers talked about their experiences and shared ideas.” Lorena says they were patient and respected her. “They didn’t force me to talk.” The group helped her manage many difficult days at home on her own.
During the first lockdown, Lorena couldn’t attend the programs in person, so she started attending some of the Our Place programs online. It warmed her heart when one of the facilitators said, “It’s good to see you, Lorena.” She adds, “I felt recognized.” She began attending the Stork Secrets group again, this time online. “This time, I shared more. I felt more comfortable because I knew it was safe to share as another way to heal and recover.” New parents were part of the group, and Lorena knew her experiences were helpful to them.
Our Place staff encouraged Lorena to join the Parenting in a Pandemic online group to discuss fresh topics and meet new people. Lorena works from home and cares for her daughter but still joins the online Parenting in a Pandemic group. This summer, her father contracted COVID-19 in Colombia and passed away. She mentioned it during the group and was touched to receive support from the other moms. “They are important connections,” says Lorena.
Lorena recommends Our Place to other parents who need support. “Our Place gives you a good start, a solid kick-off to your parenting journey.” She adds, “It is a welcoming place to find real and meaningful support.”