Jenny Joy: Parents Who Have Been There

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Jenny Joy: Parents Who Have Been There

How a challenging experience spurred a mum into action

The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant has assisted Parents Who Have Been There with costs towards their highly successful Family Fun Day held on 20 October 2018, and funds continue to support their ongoing support programs and increasing their frequency and size of support, such as their Dinners On Us program.

Jenny Joy knows how isolating it can feel for parents who have a premature baby or a baby who requires extended neonatal care.

Both her sons required neonatal care, experiences that left her wanting to give back to other parents facing similar challenges. That’s how her support group, Parents Who Have Been There (PWHBT), was born.

There can be weeks or months in the neonatal unit and it’s difficult for family and friends to fully understand what parents are going through, she says.

“A lot of families go through this all the time and it’s such a different journey.”

PWHBT volunteers regularly visit three of Adelaide’s neonatal units, providing support in the form of morning tea; Dinner on Us; or simply a listening ear. They also reach out to parents in regional areas with essentials packs and an offer of food hampers.

“It’s like anything in life, if someone comes alongside you and they get what you’re going through, it’s a beautiful lifeline,” says Jenny.

The support is ongoing.

Jenny says health visits and playgroups that focus on developmental milestones can be confronting and isolating for parents if their baby experiences delays after their neonatal journey.

PWHBT runs a playgroup which is open to any ex-neonatal family in Adelaide. It also has an active private Facebook group so parents can connect with others who have been there.

Jenny says being a Westfield Local Hero is humbling and very exciting, but also surreal.

The support her nomination received in the local community was “incredibly touching”.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.

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