My Week : Judith Howard engages with feisty teenage mothers

The part-time regional development officer for the south east and helpline adviser with the Lullaby Trust recounts her week

Judith Howard
Judith Howard

Monday: It's Easter Monday and I'm off work. Before my grandchildren and I visit baby goats at their uncle's farm, I check my work email. There is confirmation of a bereavement seminar I'm holding in October, and my guest speaker's presentation sounds fascinating. I also receive confirmation that 25 health visitors will attend my training in Sussex this month. They'll need our safer-sleep advice to help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Sids).

Tuesday: I'm at head office. The bereavement line is ringing as I arrive. Headphones on and a distressed voice speaks those terrible first words: "My baby has died." I listen, gently answer questions and provide support materials. It is the first step in a long supporting role. An email arrives from a bereaved grandmother who would like us to find her a befriender. Her grandson has died and she is finding her grief overwhelming. I put her in touch with another bereaved grandparent. Later, I get a request for the Care of the Next Infant programme. The caller is pregnant again and terrified this baby will also die from Sids. I explain how Coni can help her.

Wednesday: I provide a training session to a small group of teen mums, who are feisty and opinionated. Teen mums are a high-risk group and it's tricky not to sound bossy and to keep everyone interested. A spot the risks quiz goes down well, as do the freebies. The afternoon brings a difficult three-hour meeting on the child death overview panel in Kent.

Thursday: Granny duty - bliss. My granddaughters arrive with chocolate eggs from an Easter egg hunt.

Friday: I focus on generating training bookings. A call to the Channel Islands is met with delight; we arrange an evening of training for childminders and nursery staff and a day at the hospital. I then begin planning my fourth half-day seminar on Sids and dealing with bereaved parents before booking my flight for the Sids International Conference in Amsterdam in September.

The Lullaby Trust promotes advice on safer baby sleep and provides support to bereaved families

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