Finding the possible in challenging situations is what mothers do. They are the light and comfort that makes bad dreams just that. Patience, endurance, project management, entertainment, chef, cleaner, nurse and more, they make us matter. Mothers are truly the strength in our community as they rise with love to every challenge, sacrificing their own comfort, time and space to provide for those around them. We recognize not every mother is a birthing mother. Mothers are foster mothers, step-mothers, adoptive mothers, aunties, grandmothers and chosen mothers. Motherhood comes in many forms.
At SSCS we work with and for all types of mothers and caregivers to create safe, resilient and vibrant communities. Throughout various stages of life and need, we connect mother’s with our services and programs like the Pemberton food bank, affordable housing, infant, youth and family support. We serve the diverse and growing community of the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Mother’s day is an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the mother’s, chosen mothers, grandmothers, aunties and special caregivers in our lives. Mother figures hold such value in our community, they make us matter. When a mother faces a difficult time or needs support through a life transition, SSCS wraps her with our support and services. Michelle*, mom to three year old Riley* is an example of that 360 support.
When Michelle took a medical leave from her job in 2018, she had no idea that it would be the first in a series of rapid, life-altering events. At that time, Michelle was living with serious, chronic injuries following a car accident. She was single, and after focusing on her recovery, Michelle was ready to move her life forward. In 2019, she explored dating apps and made plans to meet a kind sounding guy, on a date. Not long afterward, Michelle found herself in a brand-new relationship and accidentally pregnant. Still on medical leave from work, scared, and depressed, Michelle was terrified. She and the father of her child, now her partner, faced the unknown together.
In early 2020, her son Riley was born. Shortly after, COVID-19 put her community and her support systems in lockdown, cutting the new parents and their son off from the world. When Riley was 16 months old, Michelle noticed some typical developmental milestones not being met. In early 2022, she learned that her son had moderate – severe autism along with a developmental delay.
During her pregnancy, in an attempt to develop some connections, Michelle had attended an SSCS program for new and expectant mothers called the Healthy Pregnancy Outreach Program (HPOP). This program offers a weekly drop-in discussion group, a cooking club, and one-on-one support for pre and post-natal women with a focus on mental health and support into matrescence.
When faced with the uncertainty of Riley’s autism diagnosis, Michelle knew where she could turn for help. She enrolled in SSCS’ Infant Development Program (IDP), which provides early intervention support for children up to three years of age. Here, Michelle met Laurie Low, an IDP consultant who gave her the support and direction she needed. “I can’t even imagine our journey without Laurie,” Michelle says. “She is a resource guru and has opened so many doors for us”.
In the three years since Riley was born, Michelle has been supported with numerous SSCS programs. Her son has participated in IDP, Strong Start, Speech and Occupational Therapy, child care, and more. Together, Michelle and Riley also attend playgroups. The connections and friendship Michelle has found with other parents and caregivers has offered her a sense of community and a safe place to ask for support.
“For me, it provides an outlet and a reprieve,” Michelle says, referring Sea to Sky Community Services family and children’s programs. “I have a chance to talk to other moms, or sometimes I stick around afterward to speak with staff. My job now, as a mom, is to give Riley every opportunity and every bit of love in my heart,” she says. “To give him the best resources available which will in turn give him the best possible chance in life.”
Sea to Sky Community Services have played a valuable role in providing those resources. The team of caregivers available to her and Riley have given Michelle the strength and support she’s needed to focus on her role as mom. Michelle recalls a time, she had booked the SSCS board room and Riley’s entire care team showed up for him. “The room was full of people who love and care about my child, and who want the very best for him,” she shares. The room was filled with members from SSCS, which Michelle says was an emotional and inspiring experience. While Michelle knows that she and Riley have challenges ahead, with SSCS staff and programs supporting her, she is optimistic, knowing she won’t face challenges alone.
This summer, Michelle and Riley’s father are getting married. Riley’s father has been another support for Michelle and Riley every step of the way, along with Riley’s half sibling. The support the family has received has rooted them in the community. They are all looking forward to the wedding and celebrating their love as a family.
This Mother’s Day, let’s show families like Michelle and Riley how much they matter. A donation to Sea to Sky Community Services can help make the challenges a mother faces just a little bit easier. From $10 a Day ChildCareBC Centres to home-cooked meals and a sense of belonging in the community, Sea to Sky Community Services offers the support all types of mothers deserve to provide what their loved ones need.
Sea to Sky Community Services offers more than 40 programs and services locally throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor with many benefiting families, mother’s and young children. When you support a mother, you give her the strength to support her family and her community.
Learn more about SSCS programs and services that support mothers and their families https://www.sscs.ca/family-parenting-support/
Donate today and change the lives of families in your community.
*names have been changed to maintain privacy.