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Saving lives, supporting families

Sarah's story

'When you are in a dark place it is difficult to see the light. Helping Hands helped me to see the end of a very long tunnel.'

Being a lone parent is never easy. But with energetic two-year-old triplets, a six year old son and a part time job as a midwife, mum Sarah’s situation soon became impossible.

‘I wasn’t living from day to day, I was living from second to second,’ Sarah said.

‘Not only was I working and looking after the four boys. I had to run the house, do the washing, sort the bills and get the food.  My friends and family were great but didn’t understand what it’s like to have triplets and how tough it is being on your own.’

After a year of struggling and exhausting all avenues to get help which fitted around her working commitments, she couldn’t cope any longer.

‘Everything seemed to get on top of me and it was all too much. I felt guilty because I couldn't give the boys the love and attention I felt they deserved. They didn’t understand the mischief they would get up to (and still do) costs me a fortune. It drove me down into the ground.’

Luckily Sarah’s eldest son's school realised she was in crisis and referred her to Tamba. We worked in partnership with Norland College to get her some help. This came in the form of experience Support Practitioner Patsi who worked with Sarah for three intensive days to help her cope with her situation.

‘It was only short term but it was enough to take this huge pressure off me and make me realise how lucky I was to have the boys and that even though it is all my responsibility to sort everything out, it is worth it because the boys needed me,’ she said.

Patsi gave Sarah the confidence to take the boys to the park and school and to walk down the street without a buggy. 

‘She really built up my self- esteem and supported me to believe that they are just normal children enjoying themselves and I needed to give them a little bit of slack instead of stressing myself out all the time,’ Sarah said.

‘Basically, she helped me to enjoy my children again.’

These days life is still hectic for Sarah. She’s not usually in bed before midnight and most mornings she’s up at 5:30am.

‘It still also worries me to death that if something happens – being burgled or a house fire – it is totally down to me to sort it out and save all five of us. But the difference is, I am now more able to cope with the huge demands of everyday life with triplets and the pressures of having this massive responsibility,’ Sarah said.

She said her own experience has shown her anyone can find themselves in a crisis.

‘It could be financial, a bereavement, a marriage breakdown or a deterioration in health.  It is always unexpected and sometimes it creeps up on you without you realising it. It crept up on me and when you are in a dark place it is difficult to see the light.’

 ‘Helping Hands helped me to see the end of a very dark tunnel and I hope, with your support, Tamba will be able to help many other families who find themselves in crisis and are unable to cope.’

To help families of multiples like Sarah visit our Helping Hands donation page. 

Click here to go back to the main Helping Hands page. 

Rebecca and Barrie's story

Rebecca and Barrie were struggling to look after their 5-month-old quads and older daughter. One of the quads, Alfie, has severe cerebral palsy.

When parents Rebecca and Barrie found out they were expecting quads, they were already worried about how they could manage.  The quads were naturally conceived and with no family history of multiples they came as a complete surprise.  With no family close by to help, Rebecca and Barrie knew with four babies and two year old daughter the financial and emotional pressure would be exhausting. Once the quads were born Rebecca and Barrie suddenly faced devastating news. Alfie, the oldest of the quads, was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy.

While Sam, William and Jake spent four weeks in neonatal care, Alfie was still in hospital and his condition deteriorated.  Alfie was unable to support his own airway, struggling with his breathing and needed constant oxygen.  He was extremely poorly and required specialist care in a hospital that is over an hour away from the family’s home. Mum and Dad were distraught; they wanted to be with Alfie but were struggling to manage travelling to the hospital as well as look after his three brothers and older sister. Two year old Olivia was having problems sleeping and struggled to adjust to having her mum and dad’s time divided between her and her four brothers.

Dad, who is self-employed, already burdened with the money worries, had the added pressure of knowing that costs were spiralling. The cost of travel to and from the hospital as well as being unable to work while he supports his family was plunging them into debt.

Alfie will never be able to lead a life like his brothers but ultimately the family want him reunited with his siblings at home. When he is home, Alfie will require 24 hour care and oxygen. Mum will need to administer round the clock care as well as looking after the other four children.  Tamba’s Helping Hands appeal provided practical in-home support to help the family cope with looking after the four children at home as well as being able to visit Alfie in hospital.  

Families like this are in URGENT need of help so, if you can, please make a donation to our Helping Hands Appeal immediately online or by texting Twin03 £5 to 70070. 

Issy's story

'I was very overwhelmed about the thought of having to look after twins and my daughter. I was not sure how I’d cope. I was panicking over, probably very minor things, but to me they felt massive.'

Issy* is the proud mum to two-year-old twins and a six-year-old daughter. But it’s not been an easy journey for her. The twins were just six months old when Issy was hospitalised, after fighting a long battle with severe postnatal depression. She spent five months in a Mother and Baby unit recovering, and during that time her house was repossessed. When she came out of hospital at Christmas 2012, she was rehoused and turned to Tamba for help.

“I was a lot better but I was very overwhelmed about the thought of having to look after twins and my daughter, Lola. I was not sure how I’d cope. I was panicking over, probably very minor things but to me they felt massive,” Issy said.

Through the Helping Hands appeal, Tamba organised for a volunteer from Norland College to go into her home and support her while she got back on her feet. Issy says she felt as though a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

“Even if I felt overwhelmed it was alright because I knew they were coming. I knew they would help me when they arrived. I think it got me over the initial hurdle because they helped me to know I could cope,” Issy said.

The support practitioner also provided emotional support, listening to her concerns and giving advice to make parenting easier in the long run.

“They bought me a book of ideas about what I could cook and that helped a lot because I wasn’t sure what to cook, how to cook it, or if they’d be getting all of their nutrients. Just in general, they listened to me and supported me and didn’t make me feel small, or like I was panicking over nothing,” Issy said.

These days Issy feels a lot more confident that she can cope with looking after her three children. Although she has battled recurring bouts of illness and been readmitted into hospital on one occasion, she says she feels much better and stronger now.

“Had I not had the support, I probably would have been readmitted a lot sooner and been away from my babies which would have obviously had an effect on them and on my six year old again. Having the Support Practioner from Norland has bought the family together and kept us together. The support they gave me was invaluable,” Issy said


To help families of multiples like Issy visit our Helping Hands donation page. 

Click here to go back to the main Helping Hands page.

*Names have been changed. 


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