Becoming a parent for the first time is very overwhelming. You life will never be the same as it was before you had a child. To adjust to that life is not easy and especially in the beginning it can be very lonely as well as isolating. Even more so if you have no one nearby like friends or family that you can speak to and express your feelings, without judgment. But even if you do have people nearby it can still be difficult to share curtain feelings such as the feeling of not being a good parent enough, if you are doing the right thing, your breast not making enough breast milk for your baby etc, this is all normal but if you have no one to speak to you may feel that you are doing it all wrong and it is your fault.
Parenting is not all RAINBOWS & UNICORNS, parenting can get very “DARK” and sharing those emotions is not easy, but can be much easier with a mommy mentor.
With a mommy mentor you will be able to chat about the anger, frustration, sadness and loneliness together with all the joy and happiness of raising your beautiful child.
Women that are already moms can reassure new mothers, giving them confidence and resources they can’t get anywhere else.
Being able to ask a mommy mentor your questions will make you feel less lonely and will increase confidence.
The ultimate goal is, being the best parent possible for your child. And whatever that looks like a mommy mentor can help to reach that goal.
By having a support system a new mothers is better able to care for their babies. While mentors care for the mothers, the mothers stay focused on caring for their bundles of joy, which helps her to be the best mom she can be.
An mentor will encourage the mother to make healthy and informed decisions for the child.
What is a Mentor
A Mentor is an experienced mom and a trusted guide and friend. A caring individual who offers guidance support and encouragement aimed to bring the best out of the mother
A Mentor is a:
- Resource for ideas and opportunities
- Someone to talk to
- Encouraging and Inspiring
A Mentor is Not a:
- Financial source
- Social worker
- Solution to all problems
- Super hero
- SAPS member
- Legal Aid member
- Decision maker
Why becoming an mentor
For many mothers and mothers2be a support system is not available, which makes pregnancy and raising a child a stressful event. This means by having a mentor can have profound effects on a mothers sense of self-worth.
The possibility of having a person who is a mom themselves and be able to share concerns, problems and ideas with, will feel a lot more comfortable as there is an understanding. In time of struggle the support of a mentor will lift the mother up and encourages them to keep their heads up.
Benefits of a Mentor
For a Mentor
- Improve communication and personal skills
- Reinforce your own knowledge
- Increase your own confident and motivation
- Become more empowered
- Learning from experiences of others
- Benefit form a sense of fulfillment and personal growth
For a Mother
- Better coping skills
- Healthier life
- Reduce of depression and anxiety
- Improve of social skills
- Gain, advise, encouragement and support
- learning from the experiences of others
- Becoming more empowered
- Identify goals and establish a sense of direction
What to expect as a mentor:
- to be a positive role model
- the relationship to be one direction
- some change to happen
- to support the mother in reaching their goals
- to experience some frustration
- to make an impact in someone’s life
Do Not expect:
- to save the mother
- the mother to trust you; at least in the beginning
- your goals to mirror the mothers goals for herself
- to meet the mother in person
- your view of life be the same or different than that of the mother
What is your role as an mentor
Help to build the mothers self-esteem and self-confidence
Focus on the positive
Every Negative has a positive side. Find the positive and approach challenges from a positive and optimistic point of view.
There is no manual for motherhood. We all make mistakes, but we can learn from them. Keep an eye for teachable moments. Take advantage of local resources if needed and possible.
Healthy Happy Mother raising Healthy Happy Children
It is very important to talk about AnteNatal Clinic, HIV/AIDS, TB, immunization, breastfeeding, healthy food choices, milestones, early childhood development, birth control, etc.
The first 2 months you will be in contact 2/3 times a week
from3-6 months 1/2 times a week and from 6 months up 1x a week
This is a very important part, you need to be very clear when you will be contacting the mother and for how long. Talk together about what day, time and for how long you will be chatting. E.g. on Monday’s and Thursday’s at 8pm for about an hour.
All relationships go through stages, so does the mentor and the Mother. I made M.E.N.T.O.R relationship stages chart. These stages are not always clear-cut and most of the time overlap. Sometimes, relationships return to an earlier stage.
Stage 1= building a relationship and setting goals etc.
Stage 2 = Mentoring
Stage 3 = Reflecting
M = Meeting (Stage 1)
The mentor and the mother are matched and will be in contact with each other via social media/email/whatsapp. You might want to ask each other questions. The mother might take a while to warm up, but be patience, non-judgmental and open.
E = Engaging (Stage 1 )
Setting goals, establish trust, clarifying roles and agreeing on boundaries
N = Note (Stage 1)
This is the moment to speak up if you want to continue or not.
T = Together (Stage 2)
Things are more comfortable, personal and open now. You have set goals and can now start working towards completing them. The mother can ask questions, and the mentor can share information to build confidence, empower, encourage and support. We want healthy happy mothers that raise healthy happy children.
O = Observation (Stage 2)
The mother is following through to reach the set goals and reaching them.
R = Reflection (Stage 3)
This is the last stage; the mentoring period has come to an end. The mother has either enough tools/skills to stand strong and carry or needs more time.
The mentor will start pre-paring for this moment as change can be scary. Talk about it, talk about all the achievements, the funny moments of auto-correct ( if you have them), but keep reminding how much time remains. Also discussed what you both would like your relationship to look like once the program ends.
No matter you decide be sure you give yourself and the mother closure. Closure means ending the relationship on a good note and clarify your relationship moving forward, make sure you both on the same page.
Setting goals gives you a long term vision and a short term motivation and when we set goals make sure they are S.M.A.R.T.
Specific - Answer the “who, what, when, where, why, how, and which” questions
Measurable - Create benchmarks to check your progress Determine how exactly you will know when your goal has been attained
Achievable - Make sure that it is realistic to attain the goal within your time frame keeping other responsibilities in mind
Relevant - Does the goal matter? How will it create positive change? What will be the impact of reaching the goal?
Timely - Create a time frame for the goal to be achieved Have a due date and check-in dates to measure progress
Some goals will be part of the program and some will be set by the mentor together with the mother.
Goals that are set by the program are:
- attending AnteNatal Clinic if pregnant
- applying for birth document
- applying for social grand
- child immunization
- we might come up with goals as a group which we could set together.
When setting goals, it is important that you write them down, so that you can go back to them and follow up on them.
Subject to talk about
- age appropriate activities
- why only to start solids 6 months upwards