May 16, 2019
Becoming a mother is challenging for any woman. But at 21, when you’re adjusting to life as an adult, the addition of the daily struggles of motherhood can make life seem overwhelming. That’s exactly what happened to Amy.
Amy, from Warrington, started to suffer from anxiety when she was 20 and pregnant with her first child. After giving birth to her daughter, Amy’s mental health deteriorated further.
“When I had Alice, I started to push everyone away. I was making excuses, so I didn’t have to go out and see my friends. And then one day I just realised if I sit in this dark hole, I’m never going to get better.” It was then that Amy made the choice to take control of her life and strive for something more for her child, and more importantly, for herself. “I don’t want my negatives to rub off on Alice. I want her to have a good life”
After a chance encounter with a Torus Foundation Community Involvement Officer, Amy was introduced to the Torus Foundation New Leaf team. Amy was partnered with her mentor, Chris from Torus Foundation, who encouraged her to try one of our courses, ‘I Am, I Can’, designed specifically to help participants boost their self-confidence, feel better in themselves and find the courage to go out and do more to enrich their lives.
Unfortunately, Amy’s anxiety was getting the better of her and instead of joining the class, she froze at the door, tears streaming down her face. It was the ‘I Am, I Can’ course leader, Nicky Price from Warrington and Vale Royal College, who managed to focus her enough to be able to join the class.
“I’ll never forget that moment. Nicky took my hands, looked into my eyes and asked me if I could feel my feet. When I said I couldn’t she just held my hands tighter until I could feel them and was calm enough to join the rest of the class.”
One thing which makes New Leaf different is it’s completely voluntary. If you aren’t ready to do something, we will never force you into it, but we will believe in your abilities and build you up to the point where you believe in them yourself. Although Amy managed to join the class that day, she didn’t feel like she was emotionally strong enough to continue the course at that time. But after just a few sessions with her mentor, Chris, Amy was feeling more confident and could re-join the class.
“Me and Chris really bounce off each other, we can have a laugh, but also he’s there to guide me and help me. He encourages me to answer my own questions and has helped me find my voice. New Leaf has helped me find the real me.”
Eventually, Amy was able to take control of her anxiety and start focusing on the future. She completed the Introduction to Counselling course and decided this was the route for her. “I’ve always wanted to be a Behavioural Counsellor. I wasn’t the best-behaved kid at school, but I want to use my own experiences to help others.” Even though Amy thought she would never get back into education, on New Leaf she has completed an education course and is currently working on her Counselling Level 2 qualification.
Not only has New Leaf helped Amy get closer to finding a career she’s passionate about, but it’s also made her a better mother.
“New Leaf has paid for Alice to go to nursery while I complete courses which has been a real help. When we first moved into our own home, Alice and I were always joined at the hip, but since she’s started going to nursery she’s become so much more independent. When I first had to leave her I would just cry, but I don’t feel as guilty anymore because I know spending time apart is better for us both.”
Amy’s mentor, Chris said:
“Amy’s journey has been inspirational. From the quiet girl who was a bundle of nerves and couldn’t stop crying, to the young woman who is now training to be a Counsellor to be able to help young people with similar issues. I’m so proud of her!”
New Leaf is led by Torus Foundation and is part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and The National Lottery Community Fund.