Every family has found this year tough, for thousands of children across Scotland it’s been devastating. It has pushed their families to breaking point.
"I was terrified.
It was lockdown. I had coronavirus, my partner was working all the time and I was at home with our two sons, Andrew and DJ*, aged 7 and 9. I told the boys I was fine, but I was struggling to breathe. One night I wrote them letters in case I didn’t wake up. We were all anxious and afraid.
Andrew was having a difficult time. He had lost his usual routines. The virus was invisible, and he couldn’t understand how something he couldn’t see stopped him from doing all the things he enjoyed. His meltdowns were something else. He’d scream, shout, attack his brother and trash the living room. It would take him a long time to calm down. Trying to do the schoolwork was horrendous. Then in April, we lost Grandpa. It was so hard to break the news to Andrew and DJ. They couldn’t go to the funeral or say goodbye because of the restrictions.
It was claustrophobic. It felt like the walls were closing in. So many times, I just wanted to walk away from it all but Jen from Children 1st was there for me and the boys.
We could not have done lockdown without Jen. She is such a big part of our lives. She would speak to Andrew and DJ on video-calls or meet them in the garden to check in and make sure they were ok.
Jen helped me with practical things. She encouraged me to go to the doctor and to keep a diary of Andrew’s behaviour, working out what makes him feel anxious and worried, planning routines to reduce his anxiety. This gave me the confidence that I can be there for him.
Andrew and DJ are buzzing when they know Jen is coming. Andrew is calmer, and we have created a quiet space for him with a tent and lights. I have joined a group Children 1st set up for local parents to connect and support each other. All this help has boosted my confidence and made me braver.
Children 1st have been a lifeline for my family. I’ve had depression since Andrew was born and without their support, I’d have spiralled into such a dark place that I wouldn’t have been there for the boys.
I know this is a difficult time for everyone but if you can, please make a donation to Children 1st to support even more families that desperately need help.
You can be a star in the darkest times for children across Scotland this Christmas.
Teresa x "