Growing up being raised by her Grandma, Courtney had created a picture of the family life she wanted to provide when she had kids.
“Grandma had taken us on when we were really young, and having her in my life helped me realise how someone should be treated, that everyone should feel valued and loved,” she says.
“When I found out I was pregnant, mentally I wasn’t well, and my life wasn’t at a stage where I was sure I could be a good Mum, that sent me to a pretty dark place.”
A friend recommended The Babes Project early in her pregnancy, and Courtney felt her feelings shift.
“I felt so young - I wanted the baby but I absolutely felt not ready!” she says.
“I had a lot of goals and aspirations I wanted to fulfil, I’d just done my Diploma and wanted to go onto Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, so I was very deflated not being able to achieve those things.”
“I talked about that with Babes, how I felt disappointed and wanted better for myself, and they helped me to see what I could do, how I could achieve things even though having a baby means it takes it longer.”
Babes is here to give hope to every young mum feeling overwhelmed.
Will you be here for her too? Help us Save Babes Frankston.
Courtney completed The Babes Project’s perinatal program, embracing the parenting education, and making firm friends with other mums in the program.
Four years after little Rylie arrived, Courtney proudly shares she did go back to study, and has nearly finished her degree.
But with more health challenges in 2020, another unexpected pregnancy in her new relationship meant Courtney turned back to Babes for support.
“I had surgery done last year which made my mental health really disintegrate, so the pregnancy brought up a fear of hospitals,” she says.
“Also the fact that Rylie’s dad had ever wanted anything to do with her, so I was worried about that happening again.”
Due on Mother’s Day this year, Courtney says her new partner is proving himself supportive.
“Mother’s Day had just been a day I spent with Rylie, but since we’ve been together he’s really gone all out to make me feel extra special for the day – and this year with a newborn is going to be very special,” she said.
Back in the perinatal program, Courtney says visiting The Babes Project Frankston has been a lifeline as she juggles work in childcare, parenting her daughter, and preparing for another little one.
“Babes has helped me understand all the different parts of motherhood, like breastfeeding and bonding moments, even baby massage – ways to connect with your baby that I never would have even thought about,” she explains.
“Even though I know a lot more this time around, they have such a loving and caring nature in everything they do. It's a supportive learning environment that I really need. ”
“Even after I graduated from the program when Rylie turned one, I’d still email and update them, just every now and then – you know they’re interested, and it’s amazing to have that support.”
While Courtney attended the Croydon centre in her first pregnancy, she’s enjoying the welcoming atmosphere, and even brings Rylie on her visits.
“It’s a very comforting place, it’s warm and homely - the Frankston centre feels like a home!”
The Babes Project is proud to be here for mums like Courtney.
Now, our Save Babes Frankston appeal needs to raise over $100,000 by Mother’s Day, to ensure mums and bubs can continue to access free perinatal support when they need it most.
The pandemic has dismantled so many of our fundraising streams - so we need you to help us.
When you visit our Save Babes Frankston page, you can register as a fundraiser - and ask your friends and family to support this cause too.
So please help keep our doors open, donate and be here for local families desperate to get the best start to raising their babies.
Donate and register to fundraise at Save Babes Frankston now, and please share the campaign as far and wide as you can.
All images by Miranda Mayle Photography.