Moms falling through the cracks

We’ve had a busy few weeks at Young Mom Support, and today we had the news that I’m going to meet with The Parent Centre in Wynberg to speak about their offering of parenting and life skills workshops to our moms.

So things are growing and things are good yet I’m feeling a little despondent.

I’m beginning to feel that we’re NOT reaching the people we were hoping to.

As I’ve said before, our moms are mostly older teenagers, some in their twenties. When a new mom arrives unannounced to join our meeting, and she’s older than our “target group” I can’t turn her away. She’s obviously there because she feels she needs it. If she gains something from it, she’ll be back. And that’s good.

The moms we see, of all ages – are probably moms that were doing okay anyway – who despite their challenges were making it all work without us.

What I am concerned about is that certain groups of moms are falling through the cracks. We can’t find them. Or they don’t want to come.

The younger teen moms, for example. 14/15 year olds. They’re out there. We know that. And yet they don’t come. Sister Williams told me that she sees them in her antenatal / maternity clinics, so we know they’re there. But in many communities, the girl’s parents call the shots about what happens with their daughter’s unplanned pregnancy and often end up raising the child themselves – not necessarily the daughter’s choice or wish. She goes along with what Mom and Dad say and doesn’t rock the boat. We don’t see her with her baby because she’s not the one parenting.

Alternatively, they might see our ads, hear people talk about us and be curious, but not have the confidence to walk in to a room full of strangers. Or not have the airtime necessary to call me and ask what it’s all about.

HOW are we going to find them, reach out to them, or find out what they feel and need?

The other group of moms missing from our group are the girls who are not impoverished, not desperate, maybe okay-ish for money. Do they feel that our group is only for Moms Who Aren’t Coping, poor mothers who you’d see on the news? That to join would be some sort of an admission of failure – Not Managing On Your Own, Stupid Girl. That we’re all about Talking About Your Feelings and demanding guts be spilled? That we’re going to tell you how to raise your child?

Because it’s not. And we’re not. I get that not everybody needs or wants to join a group like ours. I’m not a people person at all, the idea of walking in to a room of people I don’t know makes me nauseous, every time. So I get that.

But I do feel that there are people out there not coming because they don’t understand what we’re about.

I’ve had several enquiries from parents of pregnant girls or young moms, interested in what we do and who sound very keen. They take the idea to the daughters and the daughters are not interested, apparently.

Why not? What are we doing wrong?

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