19 May 2022

Tricia’s Story – Caring For Mums At Christmas

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My name is Tricia Breslin, and I work at the St John’s Mental Health Mother and Baby Unit in Livingston. We care for mums when they are going through a very difficult time and struggling to look after themselves and their baby.

This year, like every year on the unit, there will be many mothers with their babies who will be too unwell to go home to family and friends for Christmas.

It’s a particularly hard time for mum, because it’s her baby’s first Christmas – and it won’t be how she imagined it. It’s hard for the rest of the family, too, not being able to have mum and baby home with them.

So, for the mums and babies who do need to stay with us, we do everything we can to make sure they still have the best Christmas possible.

We have a party on Christmas Day, that anyone in the family can come to – so they can spend some precious time together, and not be apart from each other for the whole of Christmas. And we get some small gifts, some for the mums – to make them feel special – and some for the babies – so the mums have something to give their little one on their first Christmas and don’t have the pressure of having to find something themselves.

These thoughtful little gifts do make such a difference to the mums, who are feeling very low, and often struggling with guilt about having to be in hospital over Christmas or feeling that they are not a good enough mum.

Something as simple of as a face pack, or a nice hand cream can put a smile on a mum’s face at a time when she really needs it. Last year, we gave all the mums socks with silly faces on them, and it was lovely to hear people giggling at each other’s daft feet!

Somehow these gifts seem to mean even more because they are kindness from a stranger – someone like you. When you’re feeling so down, it means the world that someone you’ve never met has thought enough about you to buy you a present.

NHS Lothian nurse standing beside a bundle of wrapped Christmas presents

With your help, we can help lift the spirits of our patients when they are facing difficult times