Mothers Group, teenage mums with newborns

 

The new group in the Young Aboriginal Mothers Program (YAMP), is in Gunawirra House Rozelle, and will receive referrals from Aboriginal ante natal care RPA, for teenage mums with their new born babies.

 

Very young aboriginal mothers and new born babies

This is a new program to care for very young aboriginal mothers aged 14 to 24 with small babies. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to the problems of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, family violence, homelessness the pressures of parenting. They are often without the back-up of extended family and are in need of intensive support and “parenting” as they embark on parenthood themselves.  The new program helps them so that they will parent better than their parents did, so that they will provide good nutrition, break bad habits such as fast food, attach to their children better and get a chance to deal with past issues and present pain.

This project consists of

  • one full day of activities a week and
  • another day if they choose for an individual psychotherapy session.

 

New activities

The new group is also doing new activities such as “baby watching” in group therapy, belly casting for pregnant mums, feet and hands casting for new born and small babies, aboriginal art with canvasses and oil paint and water colours, settling techniques and sleep problems, help to find community social work support with housing and Centrelink problems. We want to use activities that seem to help the mothers learn and enjoy their infants.

 

Group therapy

Group therapy is central.  Here the mothers learn to sit and watch their infants and talk about them, from this they often develop trust that helps them speak about their own situations and their own problems. There is a balance between structured, engaging activities and more “open” and unstructured time. The women come to know and trust each other.

We have a big concentration on cooking and lunch is cooked by the mothers as well as Oz Harvest providing fresh fruit and veggies for the mums to each take home a bag. A bus picks up and takes home and can also be used for special excursions designed by the mothers.

 

Our Team

Our group leaders are therapists, a trained clinical psychologist and art psychotherapist and a culturally trained Aboriginal artist. There are four volunteers and an infant massage worker. Volunteers are available if a mother wants a small break while there, or to do something in the group, or just to feel supported in settling their baby.