Sunday the 2nd of April was a beautiful day as we welcomed the 10 Moms from Inyantyambo Yesizwe, a teen mothers support group, to the Thula Baba garden. These moms came from both Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, 5 were pregnant and close to their due dates, 3 had newborns and 2 had toddlers.
Wendy Purdon welcomed everyone and introduced them to the Thula Baba team as well as the 2 guest speakers. The first speaker Roseanne Turner, a nurse and midwife, held a question-and-answer session and spoke extensively about mental health. She emphasized that if they are anxious about giving birth or have anxiety or feelings of sadness for a while after giving birth they need to speak to someone about it, even the clinic sisters. She advised about giving birth with a doula, a friend or mother if the baby’s father is not present; this helps with being more relaxed when giving birth and provides a support. Roseanne spoke about the importance of antenatal clinic visits, what to expect when going into labour, the length of the labour and the delivery itself as well as tips on how to cope in the first days after the birth. She suggested even talking and singing to the baby in utero to help with the initial stage of language development. The importance of breastfeeding was explained and she spoke about the stimulation this provided for the baby and how it helped with bonding for both mom and baby. Roseanne emphasized how clinic visits for babies to check their weight and vaccinations is crucial. Finally, she strongly encouraged the moms to go back to school if they had not completed matric and explained that it was their constitutional right and would improve their lives going forward.
Michelle Graham, the second speaker is a Montessori teacher and spoke about the importance of talking to and stimulating the baby from birth, which helps with language and early brain development.
We broke for lunch; baked chicken, rice and vegetables as well as fruit juice was enjoyed all round. The teen moms chatted to one another, sharing stories, as well as to the Thula Baba team members and then proceeded to enjoy a craft-making session, guided by Michelle. They wove wool around a frame to make kite mobiles. These multi-coloured mobiles are designed to spin around above the baby’s head thereby stimulating their brain.
At the end of the event all the Teen Moms left with a Grace Factory bag including baby clothes, blanket, nappies, toiletries for baby as well as maternity and breast pads for mom. They went home after an enjoyable and educational day together, hopefully feeling more supported, less anxious and better equipped to face life with a newborn baby.