Mum finds hope in Mellow Parenting
Tabitha Krissansen refused to give up on herself.
The 28-year-old is a proud graduate of the Mellow Parenting programme run by the Anglican Trust for Women and Children in Otahuhu.
She says her life was "crazy" before she met trust staff Anna McKenzie and Suli Latu, who got her on to the 14-week course aimed at helping mothers deal with a variety of issues.
"I learned a lot from it, like how to cope with your kids and their behaviour when you're a single mum," the mother-of-three says.
"You can't give up and you have to push yourself. I try to stay strong for my children and not fall apart."
Krissansen, who used to live in Papatoetoe, has called a small flat in another South Auckland suburb home for almost a year.
She lives with her three children, aged 1-5, and is pregnant with her fourth, the father of whom has left New Zealand. She doesn't expect to see him again.
McKenzie says she and Latu originally found Krissansen and her children living in her ex-partner's basement.
"There was no toilet or cooking facilities downstairs and it was cold and damp. It was also really dark and there was nowhere for her children to play outside."
McKenzie was determined to help the young family.
"It was so sad seeing her like that," she says. "I said to Suli, 'we're getting her into Mellow Parenting' but it wasn't because she was a bad mother.
"She's a beautiful mum and she loves her kids. It was about us getting in there and getting her out of that situation."
Krissansen says she and her children are happier since she completed the parenting course and the family moved away from Papatoetoe.
Her advice to mums in situations similar to hers is to get help.
"They should talk to someone and get out of there as fast as they can. What got me through it was thinking of my kids. I knew they would be in a better place."
The Mellow Parenting programme is free for mums with children aged under 5 living in the Counties Manukau District Health Board area.
The next course starts on March 4. Phone Shelmaine Terblanche on 276 3729 extension 9509 for details.