In a current research paper on Young Mums they found that “media and public opinion often label them as “at risk”. This can have a negative impact on how they feel about formal support and can subsequently prevent them from seeking support”.
We have heard many young women stating that they are looked down on by the general public and sometimes even services that they have gone to for support or information.
This video shows the experiences of a couple of our young mums.
NCNS, in partnership with NSW Health and Interyouth, runs a group specifically for young women to overcome this stigma, and reduce the barriers to seeking support in a safe, friendly and non-judgemental environment. The group is called Nepean Young Pregnancy Support (NYPS); here the young women, their partners and / or support person have access to:
- Midwife ante natal appointments specifically for young mums only
- Weekly guest speakers on a range of topics such as Centrelink, Legal Aid, Breastfeeding, Healthy Relationships, Mental Health, D&A, education
- Work Development Orders
- Social worker
- Belly Casts and crafts
- Referrals to targeted services (Brighter Futures, homelessness services etc)
What’s great about working in this way, is that we are working with the girls who may not feel comfortable accessing “mainstream” services, and that includes Aboriginal girls, and young people at risk of homelessness. The group also welcomes young dads for the journey.
Earlier this year we sought funding from Penrith City Council for the young women to design an artwork expressing what it’s like to be young and pregnant. This artwork was then incorporated onto a pull up banner which is displayed every week and included on our flier. As you can see, it turned out beautifully!
We especially enjoy seeing many of our young parents come back to the group after giving birth to show off their new bundle of joy, and with the confidence to share stories and experiences with the other young women.