Magic Mums: one mum's journey

Ashleigh* started attending Magic Mums over four years ago with her son, Timmy*, then aged one, who was a challenge for our childcare team. Ashleigh was guarded and did not often engage with group discussions, but enjoyed the respite while others played with her son.

Timmy became increasingly difficult to manage and Ashleigh began to have assessments done. Around this time, she became unexpectedly pregnant and discovered that the baby had genetic disabilities—but decided to continue with the pregnancy. She stopped attending, but she came back to us the morning of the Grenfell fire, when we found her in our hall with her mother and Timmy, asleep on the floor. We discovered that she had been evacuated from Grenfell Walk, her baby had been stillborn two days before and she had left her flat with nothing.

We supported Ashleigh as best we could during the following days and weeks, helping her organise the funeral. She again stopped coming to RPT, until about a year later, when she arrived at Magic Mums with a new baby. Her son Timmy was diagnosed as mute autistic and she was still living in temporary accommodation (which had flooded soon after she moved in).

Over the summer, Ashleigh and her four children (two with disabilities) were allocated a three-bedroom house and she was finally able to get support for Timmy and herself. She started attending our Wednesday and Thursday groups; there was an incredible change in her whole demeanour. She entered into conversations and opened up about her difficult life. She helped the other mothers with their problems and eventually joined in with the breathing and mindfulness exercises. She says that Wednesdays are her saviour.

Ashleigh has come such a long way from the woman we first met. We have been there for her all along and she has known that, and she is now able to ask for help when she really needs it.

*names changed to protect privacy

27th February 2020