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Helping new mums during COVID

14 September 2021 - Nadene Alhadeff

How one small not-for-profit in Sydney is helping new mums during Covid-19

By Nadene Alhadeff, CEO at Mum for Mum

What is Mum for Mum?

Mum for Mum is a Sydney-based organisation in its 12th year of operation. Our 170 volunteers, who are mothers, provide valuable emotional support to new mothers transitioning to parenthood, through weekly home visits in the last trimester of pregnancy and the first year of the baby’s life. We support 250 families a year including over 60 nationalities – having doubled our outreach since Covid began. We’ve been in a unique position to provide profound and much needed mental health support during the pandemic. 

Coping with a new baby in the pandemic

Becoming a parent during Covid has been particularly challenging. Unable to have family support from overseas and often even interstate, has led to greater isolation and exhaustion for our mothers; increased health concerns for the baby and family, not to mention increased financial and relationship stresses. Having a well-trained and supervised, empathic and non-judgmental volunteer, visiting regularly, ensured that many isolated mothers did not fall through the cracks and were able to access the professional supports they needed. 

“I felt like Sandy’s presence in my life was like being thrown a lifesaver. I was isolated and in Covid lock-down with a baby with reflux and nothing going right. Seeing her was like a burst of sunshine and was so appreciated.” Mum for Mum service user

According to Director of Perinatal Psychiatry at the Royal Hospital for Women and Director of St John of God Mother-Baby Unit, Professor Marie Paule Austin, “Mum for Mum provides a unique service, that in my 30 years in the field, I have seen many organisations strive for, but few able to achieve.”

It’s good for the volunteers as well!

The mental health rewards have not only been for the recipient families but also for our 170 volunteers who have had the opportunity to find purpose and connection, during these challenging times. Mum for Mum’s focus on ongoing fortnightly training and supervision, has meant that the volunteers’ have turned a difficult period into one of growth, contribution and connection. 

“My life is much richer since joining Mum for Mum... Entering into a new parent’s life at such a vulnerable time and watching them grow and evolve into the most incredible mums, is one of the most profound experiences I’ve been exposed to. For’s not only about what we do for the mums, but what they do for us in return.” Glynne, volunteer

We at Mum for Mum are passionate about ensuring that no new parent feels alone and unsupported. In restoring calm and joy to parenting and helping isolated parents access the supports they need, we are playing our role in ensuring long-term outcomes for a thriving and resilient society. 

Find out more about Mum for Mum at their website.

You can also find online resources to help parents in the perinatal period at MumSpace

Nadene Alhadeff
Nadene Alhadeff

Nadene has been heading the Mum For Mum program since 2012, increasing the program’s reach from 14 trained volunteers in 2008, to 120 active volunteers supporting over 130 families a year in 2019.  She currently oversees the program with a professional intake team conducting many of the intakes.

Under Nadene’s helm, the program received the NSW NAPCAN award for its role in child protection and resilience, the Australian Psychological Wellbeing Award, the Randwick Citizen of the Year award and the Team Volunteer of the Year for the City of Sydney and Eastern suburbs.

She sits on the Board of WHAMglobal an international women’s health advocacy group, and on the Board of the Jewish Suicide Prevention Network.

Having owned and run her own preschool for 25 years, after immigrating to Australia, she developed her own training courses. Here she ran workshops in the corporate, welfare and educational areas, with subjects ranging from communication, conflict resolution and stress management to diversity and leadership. Nadene has worked with Indigenous students at UNSW’s Shalom College and has served as a volunteer counsellor and training mentor with Lifeline. She has an undergraduate in psychology, postgraduate counselling, cert 1V in training, and is a trained yoga teacher and Circle of Security facilitator.

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