Blog

Share some love this Christmas

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For so many of us Christmas is a time of fun, family and celebrations. But for some women, they're so busy looking after their little ones or planning for a new baby, that they often go without. It can be a time where loneliness and the feeling of hardship is heightened. So we want to make sure all of the women we walk alongside receive something special this Christmas... and we'd love you to join us to make that happen.

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Love can make the hardest choice

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Adoption. It’s not a comfortable word for a lot of us.

In Australia, its history brings up sad and cruel practices, often betraying mothers and children, and leaving both on a life-long mission to find their stolen family.

But the grim past can’t be our excuse to ignore the sad and cruel present: that every year in Australia, thousands of children are born without the support of a permanent and loving family, deprived of their right to develop and thrive.

And while society puts it head in the sand over these complex challenges, countless mothers are being locked out of making a choice: to give their babies a life, and the stability and permanency they can’t provide themselves.  

Here at Babes, supporting those mothers who are given the option of adoption is only a tiny part of what we do – but it is the most emotionally-charged, the most intense, and can ultimately be incredibly rewarding for all those involved. 

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Once upon a time - knowing Babes better

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Mishalle and Elliotte, featured in Rewriting Motherhood, share a story.

At Babes, we love a good story. Everyone has one, and sharing them can empower, can move, can change the way we all see the world.  

Storytelling has been part of the Babes MO since the beginning. Not always epic sagas - although we worked hard with ten women to deliver just that for Rewriting Motherhood, our incredible book that let women tell their own stories of crisis pregnancy, of all its challenges, and of their amazing determination in the face of it.

Often, though, it's just a pregnancy progress photo, or the name of a gorgeous new bub. But each little piece tells a bigger story - and to the mama, and to us, every one is another step on the journey, another mountain moved.   

And of course, there's the story that started it all. 

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It takes a village, and we're building it!

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The Babes Project founder Helen Parker with graduate mama Lauren and her bub Willow. 

It's a proverb from Africa, and one that resonates around the world - to raise a child, it takes a village. 

We hear it as friends admonish each other for not seeking help in those tough early days of motherhood. We hear it as folks tut-tut 'young people' gone off the rails. We hear it as mums at the end of a long day dream of a nice village wine bar with a play pen!  

But beyond the cliche, what does a "village" actually do - and how can it help as women in crisis pregnancy face a litany of challenges to keep and raise their bubs?

Can a village mentality even exist in our fast-paced, plugged-in, too-busy-to-care world?

At Babes, we're stepping up to say it - we are the village! And we're determined that our village will set the standard for supporting and empowering new mamas in our communities, and Australia-wide.  

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Fifty's nifty, but there's a long way to go

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We were shocked too, little one - fifty bubs already! Photo by Miranda Mayle at our Frankston centre. 

September 17 marked a milestone for everyone here at Babes - bub number 50 this year came into the world! 

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And while little Addison-Maree - and every one of the 49 before her - is a miracle, we think it's just as miraculous to have hit the big 5-0 already! 

But of course, we can't stay wide-eyed for long. There's too much still to be done!

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THERE'S NO 'DESERVE', THERE'S ONLY 'DO EVERYTHING WE CAN'

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Image from Wonder Woman (2017), republished under fair use. 

There’s no shortage of wonder women around The Babes Project, so when the Wonder Woman movie came out last month, more than a few of us were keen to see it!

Of course, superpowers are a bit beyond our reach – but there was one line in the film that rang familiar for our Babes team.

As the bad guy challenges Wonder Woman to abandon the world, he tells her that humanity “does not deserve you”.

“Deserve” is often a word that comes up for Babes too, as we appeal to the community to help our mamas.

Whether we’re asking for volunteers for our Equip a Mum campaign, or donations for a crowdfunding project, or even just sharing the Babes mission – “deserve” appears in many shapes and sizes.

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Equip a mum. Your questions answered

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We're currently running our equip a mum campaign, where all you wonderful people support our women through packing a nappy bag or new mums basket.  And we've had a few questions, so thought we'd let you know some of the answers to our most common ones.

Here goes...

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Help a mama prepare for parenthood

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One of our favourite things to do at The Babes Project is to use tools to interact with and educate women throughout their pregnancy. And one of the best tools we have are our nappy bags. These are bags filled with all she needs for hospital. We also have a new mums basket to celebrate when bub is born. We'd love to invite you to help us equip her for birth and baby by packing a bag or basket.

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EMPOWER, DON'T JUDGE - CHANGING THE CONVERSATION FOR YOUNG MUMS

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"People definitely judge me – after I left school, people from school were calling me up, shouting at me as I walked down the street, bullying me. I just laugh at them – they don’t know me, and know how different my life is now." 

- Babes graduate and teen mama Lily (pictured)

Scan any mainstream media stories about young mothers, and the evidence piles up fast - there's a huge stigma attached to being a teenage mum.

While just a quarter of the mamas we work with at Babes are teenaged, it seems there's a public obsession with teen parents.

Too often, news coverage shouts criticism at these brave young people, rather than give them a voice.  

When Seven News visited our Frankston centre earlier this month, they heard the stories of two of our young mamas - including 19-year-old Raechal, who said the hardest part of her journey had been the criticism and judgement she'd faced.                      

Worse that that, last year our survey of TBP participants found nearly 50 per cent faced social isolation - a feeling that isn't helped by slurs in the media, or on the streets.   

Here at Babes, we're determined to change the conversation about the capability of young mamas - and ALL mamas - and you can help us.  

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SUPPORTED FOR A FRESH START

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LIFT THEM UP: Mum-of-two TJ is determined her children will have the stability and safety she missed out on as a child. 

It's overwhelming, we know. 

A record 43,400 children in out-of-home care across Australia. For one in three cases, the parents were addicted to ice.  

In Victoria alone, police responded to more than 72,000 family violence incidents in 2015/16. In the same period, more than 107,000 child protection reports were filed with the state's Department of Human Services. 

Behind the stats - broken lives, traumatised children, young people with the worst possible start to their lives.

When the damage and disadvantage are so devastating, it can be hard to see a way to even attempt to drive change.

But Babes graduate TJ is an inspiring example of how support - when and where it's needed most - can transform lives every day. 

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