Unwed mums must seek help

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Raising a child on your own is no easy task.

This is why social workers The New Paper spoke to advised single, unwed mothers to seek professional help.

Ms Mary John, a case worker at Family Life Society, said most of their helpline callers are women dealing with unplanned pregnancies.

She added that these single mothers are usually stressed out by a multitude of issues such as housing, employment, finances and family support.

A Family Life Society spokesman told TNP it receives about 20 to 25 calls a month.

Ms John said: "They're usually emotional and feel alone, and they don't know what to do. Sometimes they are afraid of what their family might say about the pregnancy or they can't decide whether to carry the baby to full term."

OPTIONS

"When women experience unplanned pregnancy, they need emotional support. Besides giving that, we try to go through various options with them, such as fostering and adoption, rather than just abortion," added Ms John.

She said that a phone call typically lasts a couple of minutes, so social workers try to arrange a meeting to further discuss the options available for these mothers.

Ms Rachel Lee, 47, principal social worker at Fei Yue's Family Service Centre, agreed.

"A social worker would be able to advise the mother on her options and allow her to make an informed decision," she said.

"The social worker would also help counsel and prepare her, such as advise her on the physical changes ahead of childbirth, guide her on what she can do financially and even teach parenting skills."

Ms Lee, who has over 20 years' experience, said social workers would also meet with the unwed mother's family and boyfriend to discuss all possible avenues.

"We walk the entire journey with these mothers, even after the child is born."


This article was first published on January 25, 2016.
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