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What do mothers say about Healthy Mothers Healthy Families?

The names of women and their children have been changed to protect privacy.

Pia, mother to eight year old Heath who has autism

“I hadn’t been to the dentist for seven years, although I’ve taken my kids! Also, my skin had been worrying me for the last 18 months, and I hadn’t been to see anyone about it.  I guess making the time was just in the too hard basket.  So since [the workshops] I’ve been to the GP, I’ve been to the Naturopath, and I’ve been to the Dentist twice.”


Anna, mother to six year old Finn who has Muscular Dystrophy

“I have been thinking a lot about my own health. I realise how important it is to look after myself. I have finally given myself permission to take time out, relax and express my own needs.”


Caroline, mother to 9 year old Phillip who has Prader-Willi syndrome

“It's probably made me more aware that we (mothers of children with disabilities) walk a harder road because of our family situation.. There were some women at the workshops that had some really incredible stories and enormous strength. There was amazing strength throughout the whole workshop…”


Elise, mother to 15 year old twins Jacob and Lucas who have multiple disabilities.

 “I’ve changed some aspects of what I do in terms of leaning more on the children’s father, sharing the load when I would normally handle everything myself.  I have definitely made changes there and I feel better! ”


Francis, mother to 18 year old Alannah who has an intellectual and physical disability

“I’m not that stressed but if I’ve got a thousand things to do the first thing to go is the gym for me. But now I think, “No, I just have to do that one,” otherwise the rest of life is chaotic. And the gym gives me more energy. Now I make sure that I do things for my health.”


Heather, mother to seven year old Sarah who has a language disorder and oppositional defiant disorder

“I've become aware that I can do better in terms of how I feel about myself and my overall physical and emotional well- being.  So I’m looking at empowering myself to explore options and act to help myself.”


Rebecca, mother to 12 year old Stephen who has William’s Syndrome

“I've been more open with people about when I need help.  I’m able to communicate that more, knowing I need to do that to be able to look after myself and to relieve some of the pressure and burden.”


Thalia, mother to five year old Jackson who has Autism

“To me the most important light bulb moment was when I realised the importance of social support and friendships to my health.  I don't think that I had really made that link before.  I realised that I need to prioritise time with friends a little bit more.”


Yolanda, mother to 13 year old Stacey who has a visual impairment and depression

“My emotional well-being has improved remarkably since doing the program. I feel a lot more stable and focused.  The workshops were positive and gave me strategies that I can work with and put into action.  I'm a lot more proactive and less emotional. My physical wellbeing has generally improved too, and I have more energy.”


Zeta, mother to 14 year old  Renaldo who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy

“I think the most important thing is that I've realised the importance of planning to take care of my own health.  For example, I make pureed sauces with 10 vegetables and smoothies every day for my son, but didn’t put planning or effort into the food that I ate! Now when I make a smoothie, I make one for me too! I’ve actually made the time to plan my own food intake, and to do things like keep an apple in my handbag or make a salad. I do it every day of the week and it’s been a positive change.”


Judith, mother to sixteen year old Darcy who has cerebral palsy and visual impairment

“It was helpful to hear about the phases that mothers describe on their journey with their child with a disability. Steps like grieving and eventually achieving life balance. I felt relieved knowing that I’m not crazy, I’m not cuckoo. I am following the phases like other mothers and I feel good that I’m like everyone else.”


Rachael, mother to 9 year old Amelia Jane who has Cornelia-DeLange syndrome

“After the program, I feel validated and valued.  There were so many elements that added up to send the message that it is important to take care of myself. I’ve never valued my own needs, especially above my daughter. This series of workshops gave me justification to value my own needs.”


Louise, mother to six year old twins Ethan and Elijah who have cerebral palsy

“I’ve experienced a big change although there's always room for more improvement! I've done quite a few programs, but none have been anywhere near as good as Helen and Fiona's program.  It's just covered everything, which has been wonderful.”


Rachael, mother to 10 year old Sean who has Down Syndrome

“I've implemented a lot of things.  I am trying to walk more, when I wasn’t walking at all.  Through the workshops I’ve learned that it is okay to look after myself. I’ve always been told: "If you don't look after yourself, who's going to look after your family?" Now I've started to really grasp the meaning of those words and I am  trying to put some things in place that help me."