I was helping a young mum of two beautiful little girls; one of these girls was only 2 weeks old.
This woman was escaping domestic violence, fearful for her life and the life of her daughters. She couldn’t believe that she was at this point – having to hide and with a newborn in arms.
After some time of working with this woman, who was still fearful and uncertain, she asked me a question that surprised and pleased me: when do you think it’s a good time to start looking into work or study?” She had a glimmer of possibility in her eye. I asked what she wished to study and she said midwifery to be able to help other women but then she explained that she was not sure if she could do it due to her circumstances and having 2 young children. Her shoulders slumped in defeat as she said the words.
Her question shared a glimpse of where she was at with her journey – she was ready to move on with her life and pursue dreams but was scared of what was involved.
My automatic reaction was to empower and encourage her. However, I had to place myself in her shoes and remind myself that I had not had children yet when I had studied, nor had I been in the position that she was in.
So instead, I praised her for being so determined and encouraged her to set short term goals that would then assist her to be where she hopes to be.
To walk in the shoes of the women we work with is to then understand just how strong they really are. And by working at their pace and empowering them along, they feel supported and worthy.
The best way for the women we support to prepare for the life ahead is knowing that they are understood and welcomed with open arms and when they feel ready, to let the spark of possibility carry them forward on their own path to an enriching life.