In this season of giving, we are excited to support Safe Place once again for our #HegenCares campaign this year! Safe Place, an initiative of Lakeside Family Services, aims to empower women and families with unsupported pregnancies to make life-giving choices. Director of Safe Place, Jennifer Heng, started Safe Place because of her own personal experience of an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager where she felt the fear, loneliness and desperation as a first time mum. Jennifer hopes that expectant mothers who are feeling alone and unsupported can find real help through people who really care at Safe Place.
Your donations and support towards Safe Place will go a long way to help these mums in their motherhood journey such as temporary accommodation, baby essentials, as well as education and useful resources to help these mothers on their motherhood journey. Safe Place hopes to support an additional 150 mothers in 2022 with the donations received from partners such as Hegen!
Our Mum of the Month in December, Sarah Lim is a beneficiary who received help from Safe Place. Read her story on how she found when she found out that she was pregnant through a doctor check-up and how Safe Place provided a safe place (pun intended) emotionally and physically.
Can you tell us something about yourself and how you came to know about Safe Place?
Hello my name is Sarah, I am 21 years old this year and I love kids! I graduated with a diploma in Early Childhood Education. I went to the polyclinic for gastric pains, only to find out I was pregnant on the very same day. Hence, I was referred to KKH as well as the KKH Medical Social Work department, and that's when I found out about Safe Place and how they help to support women with unsupported pregnancies.
Could you share an incident when you were at your lowest and wanted to give up on motherhood and how Safe Place helped you?
I was an non-residential client of Safe Place for a while, up until a big fight with my mother and that fight made me feel the lowest in my life. I had suicidal thoughts and thought to myself "if I die now, the baby dies with me. Because once the baby is out, I will have no choice but to live, unhappily". From then on, I reached out to my caseworker, Rachael, about how I was feeling. I sought shelter at a friend's place for one night and Safe Place offered me a place to stay. With that, I had more space to calm down. Along with professional counselling provided by Safe Place, they gave me an extra push in life and made me a stronger person.
How has Safe Place empowered you on your motherhood journey through your stay there?
Safe Place conducts programmes on different topics. One of topics was about boundaries. There were many different types of boundaries shared; with friends or family. What I found most important was boundaries with ourselves and with our children. We got to dive deeper into how we were raised, or things that happened in the past that made us who we are now. I found this very relevant because it helped mothers like myself learn that a child's experiences during childhood is very crucial and that it can even affect how they view themselves in the future.
Safe Place also have volunteers, speakers, doulas come in on a regular basis to share more knowledge about the road to motherhood, during pregnancy and postpartum. They have helped me a lot in preparing me for labour. I learnt about the signs of labour, what to do to ease the pains of labour and the different pain relief methods. Safe Place has also helped me in providing baby necessities and supplies since I am still getting on my own two feet.
What hopes do you have for yourself as a mother?
I hope to be a mother that my child can look up to, and is proud of. I also hope to be able to speak up confidently for myself one day, being more clear and confident of my parenting methods. Since becoming a mother, many have given different feedback and opinions on how to raise my child, hence I want to move towards setting a clear boundary and be sure of the way I want to parent.
Do you have any words of encouragement to other mothers who may be facing unsupported pregnancies?
You are not alone, even if you think you are! There's always a light at the end of the tunnel. The road ahead may be tough, and it will be tough, but you will be surprised to see how much tougher you are or will be. This is speaking from my own experiences. It is an ongoing fight but we will come out stronger!
To find out more about Safe Place, visit www.safeplace.org.sg