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Gill’s story: how FamilyLine made a difference during the pandemic

12 May 2021

Our Family Resilience report with LV= General Insurance shows that despite numerous lockdowns, most families feel they now have stronger relationships with their community and wider support groups. Here we look at how one mum, Gill was struggling with parenting but was able to seek support through our FamilyLine service supported by LV= General Insurance.

When Gill* contacted Family Action she felt overwhelmed with the pressures of parenting her three-year-old, who has additional health needs.

Her husband works long hours and, with family too far away to assist her, she worried about the strain the situation put upon her marriage. Our volunteer befriender worked with Gill offering her a safe space to discuss thoughts, feelings and past experiences and reflect on how the strain of raising a child with additional health needs was affecting both herself and her husband. It also helped her process grief about the emotional impact of her daughter’s surgery and the challenges she faces – including, in some cases, discussing difficult topics like frustration with her capabilities and development.

Gill’s befriender helped her to identify strategies to manage relationships with both her husband and daughter, creating positivity and improving attentiveness, while also supporting her to manage her own anxiety through measures such as mindfulness and yoga.

Gill said: “My befriender is truly amazing and I am so lucky to have found her and had her to talk to”. Discussing the situation with a non-judgemental third party also allowed Gill to consider her doubts about her marriage and understand how these are normal in a long-term relationship. This resulted in Gill feeling she could see her husband’s actions with greater objectivity – with the result that she also felt the relationship became more nurturing and caring.

“I have advised others who are struggling to contact you too, though not everyone is ready or brave enough to ask for help I have discovered!”

Importantly, she also feels less self-critical of herself and less anxious as a parent. She added: “Speaking to my befriender has helped me move from utterly hating myself and not feeling I was anywhere near the parent I should be or wanted to be.  She has helped me turn a few really difficult situations around and I now wake up feeling much more positive, in control and able to cope with whatever the day throws at me”.

Gill has now returned to work three days a week while her daughter attends nursery and says that, as a result of the journey with Family Action, she now relishes time with her and describes our support as “life-changing”. She said: “FamilyLine is a lifesaver and I am so glad I found you and that you could help me. I have advised others who are struggling to contact you too, though not everyone is ready or brave enough to ask for help I have discovered!”

Read our Family Resilience joint report with LV=General Insurance, looking at the impact of COVID-19 and find out more about how we are working together to build stronger families or if you need support contact our FamilyLine.