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THEIR STORY: Meet Alyssa, a 19-year-old first time mom

Published Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Being a new mom is a challenge. But being a new mom, alone in a new city and without friends or family to help can seem impossible. This is Alyssa’s story.

Alyssa came to Calgary when she was 18 to start a new life. After a year, she was pregnant and excited to be a mom. But after giving birth, Alyssa barely got out of bed most days. She cried nearly as much as her newborn son. Her partner worked up north 21 days at a time working. She felt alone and utterly overwhelmed.

When her son was one month old, she took him to the clinic for a checkup. The public health nurse noticed Alyssa’s red, raw eyes and asked her how things were going. Alyssa broke down and told her everything. The nurse listened and suggested she call the Children’s Cottage Society for help.

At the Children’s Cottage, Alyssa was referred to the Infant Respite program. She was matched with a respite worker who came into her home once per week to watch her son for three hours. In that time, Alyssa got the chance to have a full meal, sleep for more than an hour at a time or do laundry piling up in the hallway.

She looked forward to these three hours every week. She learned how to connect with her son and how to deal with her depression productively. Every week she felt stronger, hopeful she could raise him in the healthy home she never had. When he was six months old, she felt strong enough to look after him alone. Alyssa says she’s taking to motherhood well, and the Children’s Cottage played no small role in getting her there.