Mel* is in her early 30s and has 4 children. She has received support from the NSPCC Hull Service Centre via its Video Interaction Guidance service, which is a video-based parenting skills programme.
The NSPCC’s VIG programme was recommended to Mel via her health visitor. Mel had expressed her concerns that she was really struggling to bond with and communicate with her oldest daughter, who was age 6 at the time. Mel had struggled to bond with her daughter from birth. The day she found out she was pregnant, was the same day her family were told her mum had cancer.
This was followed by an extremely long and difficult birth, where Mel thought her baby had died, as she was rushed away from her as soon as she was born with the umbilical cord around her neck. Mel’s daughter was not returned to her for several hours and she couldn’t accept the baby was actually hers.
"I was concerned that the NSPCC would judge me and potentially take my daughter off me for being a bad parent."
After Mel brought her baby home she distanced herself from her, by putting her in full time nursery and relying on the help and support of family and friends to care for her. Mel would also prop feed her daughter to avoid any physical contact.
Here Mel shares her story to highlight how the NSPCC’s VIG programme supported her and her oldest daughter and helped her move forward and improve her relationship with her.
“When I first heard about the NSPCC VIG programme I was concerned that the NSPCC would judge me and potentially take my daughter off me for being a bad parent. But, my concerns were unfounded. The NSPCC were there to help and provide support. I am a bit nervous around new people, but my NSPCC worker did not judge me at all and made me feel very comfortable from the very first meeting.”
“I had difficulties with any physical contact with my daughter and so I was a bit apprehensive about being videoed the first time, but I really wanted to take part to help rebuild my relationship with my daughter.”
"One of the main turning points during the later sessions was when I actually told her I loved her."
“At the first feedback session, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and thought my NSPCC worker would pick out all the bad bits, but this wasn’t the case at all. The feedback showed points in the film where I had done well. I was talked through these and what was good and how I could improve on the positive things.”
“One of the main things I remember was a really simple activity. We painted each other’s nails and it meant that we had to have some physical contact. I found this very difficult at first, but watching it back was very moving. One of the main turning points during the later sessions was when I actually told her I loved her. When I saw this back, I burst into tears. It really showed how far our relationship had come.”
When asked if she would recommend the NSPCC VIG programme to other parents, Mel said: “I would definitely recommend this programme to other mums and parents. It has completely changed my life and my relationship with my daughter."
“Before taking part in VIG we were in quite a dark place, but this has now changed. We now do lots of activities together, and I have no reservations about physical contact, cuddling, talking about things… and I can now freely tell her that I love her, which I found difficult before. She is also a much happier and more confident child and we love spending time together as a family and are much more active and outgoing.”
“Can I also say to parents, “Please don’t have misconceptions about the NSPCC. They provide support in a friendly and non-judgmental way which has really helped my family.”