On 4th July 2016 I gave birth to my son and started a new chapter in my life and a new role – that of being mum! Having my son is without doubt the best decision I have made in my life but has also been the most challenging thing I have ever done! I remember vividly the first few months of his life just feeling utterly overwhelmed, that I had taken on something far harder than I could handle and that all in all my life was over.
I am in a stable marriage and have the support of my family, my friends and my church all around me. My husband was able to comfort me when I felt that it was too much and took over with our son after work so I could nap. My mum took my son on long pram walks (which I am pretty sure he screamed throughout!) to make sure I was able to have a proper rest as well as cleaning our entire house every time she came and filling our fridge and freezer with food. My friends were there to encourage me that all that I was feeling was normal and that things would get easier – newborns are hard! And my church was there to help in whatever way I needed – bringing us meals, holding my baby so I could pack for a holiday, taking him out on pram walks to give me a rest, coming over in shifts on the worst of days – when I got food poisoning and simply could not look after my son! Without this support network I don’t know how I would have survived those first few months.
When I think about what it would have been liked to go through this alone – I don’t know how I would have coped. The young mums Love Russia work with in Russia don’t have this support around them, at a time in their lives when they are in desperate need of help and guidance. Many young orphanage leavers find themselves pregnant soon after leaving their orphanage due to a lack of family planning education and a desperate need for affection and to be loved. Growing up without a mum means they have no idea how to look after a newborn and rarely will they have the support of friends and a church behind them. Sadly, this means many young orphan mums end up placing their own children in orphanages and the cycle of children growing up in institutions continues.
This is why Love Russia believes it is vital for us to support these young mums. We help support crisis centres, parenting support groups and Mentors all aimed at young orphan mums. If you would like to donate towards this – click here!