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Steff found support for two pregnancies and a new career at YMYW.

Steff was referred to Micah Projects’ Young Mothers for Young Women (YMYW) program for support after discovering at 19 she was pregnant with her daughter.

She was a fan of the program from the outset.

“There’s a very different vibe, and you can sense it as soon as you walk in. It supports without judgement. The team want to help you to be the best mother you can be, and age doesn’t come into it.

“They provided all my midwifery check-ups at the centre thanks to their partnership with the Mater. I had my primary midwife’s mobile phone number, and I’d met all the other midwives in the team, just in case my midwife wasn’t on shift when I went into labour.

“None of the other young mums I knew from outside the program were getting anything like this kind of support from their antenatal care.

“Shortly after I started they began their new playgroup sessions for young mums with their kids. It sounded great, but I was wondering about the logistics of going when they offered to pay for parking to make sure we could come and to provide a free lunch for us. I was sold.

A couple of years later, Steff and her husband were expecting their second child. A rapid succession of challenges including a complicated birth, post-natal depression and the breakdown of her marriage when her son was four months old found Steff in a precarious position, emotionally and financially.

“The first four months of my son's life were very challenging. When my husband left, I was on maternity leave, with no income, and a lease that was about to expire. I was living with postnatal depression, and I had a 2-year-old and a 4-month-old baby to care for.

“You just don’t think this will ever happen to you. It seemed like the world was trying to break me.

“I’d been back at YMYW for my midwifery care and support for the second pregnancy, and attending playgroup, so when I found myself in trouble, and with no idea what to do, I reached out to Kate, who runs the program.

“I told her everything, including how I was terrified we were about to become homeless. She swung into action in an instant. She called up Hannah from Micah Projects Families team, and she came to meet me at YMYW so they could do the housing intake session that afternoon.

“Within three weeks they’d found me some community housing, and helped me register for more a permanent Department of Housing place. It just took away so much fear.

“I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have Kate and Hannah on my side."

I can’t explain how important it is to build a support group of mums your age, who are going through similar things to yourself. And because there’s no judgement from the team, the mums treat each other well too. I’m still friends with the mums from that time.


Housing secured, and with her health and the health of her family stable, Steff went back to work when her son was ten months.

“I felt I needed to get back to work to ensure we had financial security, but it was challenging. Working in the childcare sector, a lot of the jobs are casual and irregular. There’s just no job security. I have certificate and diploma qualifications in childcare, but I couldn’t find and keep a permanent job, and before long I was unemployed again.

“It’s tough. When you want to work, when you have qualifications but you can’t get a stable job. You can feel down.

“I started going back to YMYW playgroup again. I needed the adult conversations, and to be able to have them with other young mums was terrific. I don’t think I missed a single playgroup session after that.

“I was thinking about trying to go back to work again when YMYW offered a ‘Being Your Best’ course to help you get ready for job hunting. They helped us write our resumes, learn interview skills and even do a barista course to help us find work.

“It was a great course, and I was thinking about how I was going to use the skills when on the last day Kate came up to me and offered me a part-time job as a peer worker for the YMYW program.

“I was a peer worker for 18 months until I aged out of the program when I was turning 26. It’s important to have the group and the peer workers be young, but it was terrible knowing that was looming and thinking about what I would miss.

“Then Kate encouraged me to apply for one of the new roles opening up. YMYW was about to start offering an early childhood program, providing care for families in crisis. I applied, and I am now working three days a week.

“These are families who need our support. We help them with our early childhood program, but thanks to donations we also help them with things they need right now, that day, like nappies, clothes, sheets and even food.

“It’s the most satisfying and rewarding job I’ve ever had.

“And if families are struggling in circumstances like I was, it’s great to be able to tell them that I’ve been there, and it does get better. I’m the proof.

“Being able to work for the organisation that helped me when I needed it is pretty awesome.

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