'We started off as strangers and finished as friends' - Xanathia's story

I had just started working as a fitness instructor when I found out I was pregnant and I was worried about how I would cope with becoming a mum for the first time. I suffered with anxiety attacks and pre-natal depression, - I felt like one of the unlucky ones. Eight weeks into my pregnancy I was referred to the Family Nurse Partnership in my local area. I didn’t really know much about it or what it was going to mean for me and my baby and straight away I put up a wall. I didn’t want to let anyone in.

Trusting my Family Nurse

When I first met my Family Nurse, Cheryl, I wasn’t very open. I was pleading for her to help but at the same time pushing her away. Sometimes I wouldn’t even open the door to let her in but Cheryl didn’t give up on me and slowly I started to look forward to seeing her and enjoying her visits. Cheryl was warm and welcoming and she didn’t give up.

After my son Jackson was born I became very depressed. I didn’t feel good enough for him, I tried to get on with things, but I couldn’t it wasn’t working. I was at my lowest and didn’t know what to do.

One night, when I really was at rock bottom I asked my mum to babysit Jackson and tried to take my own life. Thankfully, it didn’t work and I woke up – someone obviously wanted me to stay here and I’m so glad.

Getting my life back on track

It was after this that Cheryl really helped me to turn my life around. She found so many organisations to help me, and connected me with a family support worker at my local children’s centre to help me build a bond with my son. Cheryl was an amazing support to me, especially when I was worried about whether I was doing things right or wrong with caring for Jackson. We did video interactive guidance and cognitive behavioural therapy and she also helped me to get funding for Jackson to go to nursery for 15 hours a week, so that I could have some time just for me.

It wasn’t easy to get where I am today. There were times when I thought about getting Jackson adopted because I thought that he would be better off with someone else, but Cheryl kept telling me that I was good enough and eventually it got through to me. Her positivity was endless and she made me see that I could do it. There aren’t enough words to describe how I feel about Cheryl and the Family Nurse Partnership!

I now also have a little girl, Xylia, she was born with a heart problem and mitochondrial disease – this means a lot of GP and hospital visits to help her with both conditions. Having Cheryl’s support and advice while I was going through everything with Jackson has really helped me to deal with my daughter’s condition. I love my children very much and wouldn’t be without them. They’re my world.

Feeling positive about the future

I have now been off my medication for 18 months and, although there are still hard days, I am able to deal with them better. I am now looking to use my childcare and fitness diplomas and combine them with the new skills and knowledge I have from looking after Xylia to organise outdoor activities for children with disabilities. I’m looking forward to being able to help and support other people going through similar things to me.

I can honestly say that without Cheryl doing what she did I wouldn’t be here - she saved my life and I am eternally grateful to her.