For Rachel Mellor, the birth of her baby will always be remembered with a tinge of sadness. About five months into her pregnancy she learned that her father, already seriously ill, had just weeks to live. Sadly, he died without having the chance to meet his new grandchild.
Rachel believes that the devastation of her loss was one of the reasons for Cory’s arrival five weeks prematurely – an event for which she and partner Matthew were ill-prepared, and at a time of such enormous grief for her family.
“I felt so stressed, and everything seemed to get worse when we took Cory home,” she says. “His lungs still hadn’t developed, so he was prone to choking and wasn’t sleeping well. I was on edge all the time, feeling totally out of control of my world.”
The first visit from Plunket Nurse Helene was a breath of fresh air. “Helene reassured me that I was doing a good job, but she also understood that I was really struggling. That’s when she suggested that I visit the Plunket Family Centre for some extra help and support.”
Rachel says she was almost in tears from physical and emotional exhaustion when she turned up for her appointment. “Then I met Maree,” she says, “and my life began to change for the better.”
Maree introduced Rachel to a group of other mothers in similar situations to her own. She sat them down with cups of tea, encouraged them to share their experiences, and introduced them to a library of books and DVDs that they were welcome to borrow.
“She also took the time to give me some really practical advice,” says Rachel. “I came away buzzing with excitement; I had a much better understanding of Cory’s behaviour, some new routines to put in place, and a DVD to take home and show to Matthew.”
Rachel says she feels as if she’s turned a massive corner. “I can’t stop telling people how Plunket has helped me!” she laughs. “I feel so much more confident as a mother – and I know I have somewhere to go if I need help.”
Every year, thousands of parents like Rachel and Matthew benefit from Plunket’s advice, support and resources. Please help us to give their babies the very best start in life – donate to Plunket today.
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