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Alan's story

Our baby wouldn’t sleep on her back. She’d wake every 2-3 hours, screaming for at least an hour, every night, for 16-months straight. And she screamed most of the day. The only way of getting any rest was to have her sleep on either my chest or my wife’s chest. We had no family or nearby support network, and received very little support from our GP, so we felt very isolated, lost and depressed. It was a very tough time.

I would become quickly frustrated and angry when trying to accept our baby’s behaviour, which didn’t help any of us. In particular, it made things even worse for my wife who was left trying to settle a screaming infant. It affected everything, including my work and study. Then, we were referred to Raphael Services.

Alan's storyAt Raphael Services, I was able to express my frustrations in a friendly and accepting environment, without feeling judged. I was given coping strategies that I would discuss with my psychologist, which helped me understand how the mind processes information and can make us experience different moods and feelings.

 I’ve since been able to identify these feelings and process them rationally, so they don’t affect my life so significantly. I was also encouraged to undertake daily mindfulness activities to help me remain more focused, and accepting, during difficult situations. It helps me work through tough situations in a more calm and objective manner.

I now feel more confident in my role as a parent. I’ve been able to stay more relaxed and supportive around my wife when she most needs it. I have a closer bond with my daughter, and a more relaxed family environment at home. I love every moment I get to spend with my girls! I’ve also become a more active person again, returning to previous hobbies and activities that I’d given up because ‘it was all too hard’.

So, I’d say to anyone who’s struggling, especially male partners who are not seeking help, reach out to Raphael Services. Forget any preconceptions you may have about receiving guidance from a professional councillor. Both partners raising a child undergo stresses, and most of us will focus our efforts on trying to support our partner; however, in order to help your partner, you first need to help yourself