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When it's never mattered more, will you stand up for vulnerable mums?

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Amidst all the tough, strange and downright horrible aspects of terrible 2020, we've all seen one reliable bit of normality. 

Babies just kept being born.  

Lockdowns across Melbourne meant for the first time in 11 years, The Babes Project had to close our physical doors to vulnerable pregnant women and new mums.

But like the babies, we didn’t stop. 

And after nearly nine months of delivering remote perinatal support to vulnerable women and their bubs, we're finally welcoming them back into our centres, and supporting them to recover from lockdown experiences that left them more isolated, traumatised and at-risk.

Now, post-pandemic and into the future, we need to keep the doors open.

And to do it, we need your support for 1 Million for Mums

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Babes labour prep to help every new mum

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From the earliest days of The Babes Project, we’ve worked to prepare and empower women for pregnancy and motherhood, in the face of every kind of crisis.

But it shouldn’t take a crisis to connect new mamas with the information and advice they need to feel confident for their journey.  

With more than a decade of experience providing perinatal support, Babes knows that countless pregnant women feel underprepared for labour, birth, and beyond.

And feeling disempowered during labour and birth can have negative impacts for how women connect with their baby, and engage with health care, for years to come.

That’s why we’ve created Labour Education, by The Babes Project.

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EOFY - and what a year - means new mums need support more than ever

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Every day and more than ever in the current crisis, women need support to prepare for motherhood. Photo by Miranda Mayle Photography.  

Wow.

No doubt about it, 2020 has already been a brutal year.

And while we'd like to think the worst is behind us, chances are it's going to get tougher.

While everyone is facing their own battles, Babes has seen first-hand how the recent months have been just so challenging for pregnant women and new mums. 

For so many, COVID-19 is yet another crisis, and one that is making support even harder to access, as women try to prepare for motherhood amidst family breakdown, domestic violence, insecure housing and income, mental health issues, and more. 

Through the past months of lockdown, Babes has continued to be there - remotely, but still as fully as possible - for the most vulnerable families in our communities, even as the global pandemic makes them more isolated, traumatised and at-risk. 

As restrictions begin to ease, we want to step up our support, and start the recovery process for new mums hit hard by social distancing, and by countless other factors that are unfair, alienating, and so often out of their control.  

And more than ever, we need your help to do it

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Cristina's Story

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“Once my family found out I was pregnant, they didn’t want anything to do with me.”

Finishing her Bachelor of Business and starting to build her career, Cristina’s plans did not include having a baby.  

“Right before my last exam, I had an inkling something was wrong, and I went and took a test – I was sort of a bit numb from the shock of it,” she remembers. 

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Motherhood stories worth telling, no matter what the plan

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“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes mama with a baby carriage.”

Sound familiar? From our earliest days, we hear there’s a “right” way to do motherhood. And even today, plenty of people are still trying to tell women all the ways we’re doing it wrong.

The Babes Project calls that out.

For more than a decade we’ve supported women tackling new motherhood from every direction, and facing every challenge imaginable.

And now, our podcast Not the Plan shares their crisis stories – and ours – from first heart-wrenching realisations, the overwhelm and elation of pregnancy and birth, and through those tough newborn trenches.

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Recognising our fabulous people

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“Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action. 
These actions shape and mold the present into a future of which we can all be proud.” 
– Helen Dyer

There has never been any doubt here at The Babes Project, that our power is in the people who give so much time, passion and energy to care for some of our communities vulnerable young families.  Over the years our Babes community has thrived because of people who believe in the power of giving... and it is remarkable to see. 

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Amidst the crisis, help us write a better future

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Over the past ten years at The Babes Project, one of the most important things we have learnt about pregnancy and motherhood is that every family and parenting story is unique.

And wow, hard to think of a tougher time to start that story. 

But even in the face of a global pandemic, brave mamas continue to bring babies into this world - in many cases, cut off from support, with birth-partners shut out of the hospital, or even unable to hold their newborn as hospitals enforce distancing for mums who may be of carrying the virus. 

Our hearts are breaking for so many new mums, more isolated than ever by this crisis, and so many other tough circumstances. 

That's why we're working harder than ever - even as our centres stay temporarily closed - to connect with new mums, and make sure we can give them support remotely.

And our mama-life journal is a new way that you can help deliver that support.

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Can't hug them, can empower them - help mums in crisis this strange Mother's Day

MKM20190513121001.jpgIt's feels weird, right? Like, sure, we've all started to adapt to lockdown life, as much as it's driving us crazy - but a Mother's Day without hugs in every direction? That just seems wrong!

But is motherhood always as as big and warm and safe as a hug?

Of course we want it to be.

Every mother deserves to be surrounded by love and care - to thrive in motherhood, and to love and care for her baby.   

But across Australia, pregnant women and new mums are cut off from that vital support. 

No, not because of the pandemic - but make no mistake, this is a crisis. And we need your help to change it. 

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Before COVID-19, heartbreaking isolation was already the norm for too many mothers

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Photo: Miranda Mayle

 

If malevolent forces set out to break new mothers, they would probably design something like current COVID-19 situation. 

For so many women, those first days and weeks with an infant are the most vulnerable and overwhelming of their lives. 

Coronavirus means that every day around 850 women across Australia are taking new babies home to isolation, cut off from the usual procession of visitors, support, and encouragement. It feels weird, anxious, alienating, and not how so many people pictured their first days of parenting.

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1 Million for Mums - Jackie's story

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A NEW LIFE: Jackie was able to start over as she embraced motherhood with her little Cleo. Photograph by Miranda Mayle Photography.

As part of our 1 Million for Mums campaign in 2020, we're sharing the stories of some of the mamas The Babes Project has walked alongside. 

We began with Jackie, who stared down a tough past to build her daughter a beautiful future.  

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“I told him it was me or the drugs, and he ended up choosing the drug life – and I found out not long after that I was pregnant.”

It seemed like a nightmare scenario when Jackie discovered she was expecting in late 2018.

At 23, Jackie had used drugs and alcohol almost daily for eight years, trying to numb the pain of a traumatic childhood, and an adult life spiralling out of control.

“I knew I was doing really bad stuff, it had even gone to court but luckily charges were dropped and I was on a good behaviour bond,” she explains.

“I’d even had an overdose scare, I had to be resuscitated on a train.”

Although Jackie wanted to make changes, the traumatic death of her fiancé, and several toxic relationships, meant old habits were hard to kick.

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