Michael, our BSW placement student has finished his time with us. He is not only graduating and starting to pursue a Masters of Social Work, he and his wife also recently started a family. His parting blog post, reflects on this change and the struggles that he has witnessed during his time with us. We wish him well and hope to see him and his daughter again soon!
Several weeks ago my life was turned completely upside-down. 3 weeks and 1 day ahead of her due date, my wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter. We were warned that the baby could arrive, unexpectedly, anytime within 3 weeks of the due date. I have heard that many first-born children are often born after their due date so her happy arrival was quite the surprise. Coupled with the fact that this is our first child, we were not prepared.
As most people know, a new born infant does not stay asleep for long and requires many feedings, diaper changes, and loving care. This radical alteration of both of our schedules, sleeping on average only 4 hours a night, has pushed our limits and left us highly fatigued. This was with both of us on deck and willing to help out. Looking back at my time working at the Emergency Food Hamper there have been many lone-parent families coming into the program in need of emergency food assistance. In my opinion those parents, often mothers, are super-heroes. Taking care of a baby is a full time job and a half. Your whole world revolves around them and all you think about is their health and well being, especially their food consumption.
For my wife and I, breastfeeding was our choice to feed our baby. However, life doesn’t always work out as planned; our little girl’s early arrival continued that trend. Our daughter was also born slightly jaundiced meaning she would not always wake up, or stay awake long enough for a healthy feeding. We worried and continue to worry at this early juncture in her life whether she is getting enough food. Is she eating enough? What if we have to start feeding her all formula all the time? As new parents this added expense would be quite taxing on our budget.
Parents worry about their children at the best of times. It really doesn’t matter if a baby is perfectly healthy. These natural worries can be exacerbated when the child’s entire care is placed squarely onto the shoulders of one parent. I’m not saying that a lone-parent cannot do a good job raising their child, however, I believe all of us would agree that extra assistance is always deeply appreciated when it comes to child care. Placing all of these concerns into real world scenarios taken from my observations at Food Hamper, it is almost unimaginable to think about the stress a single-parent would feel especially if they were also experiencing, for example, the loss of a job, poor health, or a food shortage. A happy mother equals a happy baby.
The Emergency Food Hamper is always ready to assist those in the community with these common life concerns. The program can give out 12 baby hampers in a year, one a month. Diapers are available to expectant parents up to one month before the due date and normally for children up to 3.5 years of age. Furthermore, baby formula is often available for children up to 18 months while baby cereal or junior food is offered when available.
Interested in learning more about the state of Waterloo Region’s mother’s and children? You can follow this link here, to read a summary of work that Public Health released this January.
If you’re interested in helping our program help newborns and their families, we are always looking for donations of diapers, wipes, formula, and baby cereal. You can learn more about how to help us here.