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Mum’s delight at second chance
CRADLING her son and feeding him his favourite cauliflower cheese, Michelle feels incredibly blessed. Her bundle of joy, who turns one next month, smiles at everyone, is a picture of health and Michelle’s pride is apparent.
“He’s absolutely thriving. He’s started to crawl and has a fantastic appetite,” said Michelle, 25, of Park North, whose name has been changed to protect the family’s identity.
Michelle, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, is also pleased to be in good health.
By contrast,he first experience of being a mother was traumatic. She was 20, living in the smallest room of her mother’s house and her health was affecting her on a daily basis. Unable to look after her baby, he was adopted.
“I know I failed him. I wish I could have done more. The guilt will never go away – I should have been able to do more. I was in such a bad place back then, but there are no excuses,” she said.
Michelle’s second pregnancy was unplanned, but she was determined to rise to the challenge. Mary Miller, who has been a social worker at Swindon Council for seven years, was equally committed to this goal.
She identified a suitable parent placement, which would give Michelle parenting expertise in a supportive environment.
“After having my baby, we lived with an older couplewhich was a huge help. They gave advice– everything from how to get rid of wind to emotional bonding,” Michelle said. She returned to her own home last July and is loving motherhood. Her baby is no longer the subject of a child protection plan, she receives support on an informal basis and her independence continues to grow.
“Having such a happy boy gives me so much joy. I feel I’ve been given a second chance to show what I can do,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the support.” Visit www.swindon.gov.uk/big conversation or www.facebook.com/swindonbigconversation
What is the Big Conversation?
The Big Conversation is a Swindon Council project which aims to provide a better dialogue with people and build mutual understanding.
The council needs to make it easier for people to understand the challenges it is facing in terms of increasing demand and decreasing resources.
They also need to get better at listening and understanding what matters to people in the places they live.
By stimulating debate, communities will be more informed and the council will also learn more about people so better decisions can be made when tough choices have to be made.
It’s called the Big Conversation because the council is starting a dialogue, which will continue for many years.
For more information, visit www.swindon.gov.uk/bigconversation, or the Facebook page facebook.com/swindonbigconversation, and also talk about it on Twitter using #Bigconversation.