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Monica Matters

An Interactive Story

Meet Monica. This is her story, and YOU are part of it.

She and her partner James, along with their children Kyleigh and Henry, are struggling to manage common family stressors which have intensified during the COVID pandemic. They need YOUR support.

Read their words, watch their interactions, and learn from their story to inform your choices. Every choice has the power to change the outcome. What will happen to Monica and her family? YOU choose.

*This story is based in real experiences. Names have been changed to protect identities.

Start the Story
BACK
Why won’t he nurse? Am I doing something wrong?
Stop stressing. Just keep trying. I gotta go to work. Gonna be late, and we still don’t have enough to make this month’s rent.
That's not fair! Don't blame me!
You’re right, it’s not fair that I’m the only one working.
What do you think this is? I’m keeping these kids alive!
Barely.
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car keysJames grabs his keys and leaves for the office.
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No problem! I’ll just handle it alone, as usual!
Oh Henry, what do you need? Are you mad at me too?
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What do you think James is feeling?
A) Stressed about the morning conversation?
B) Guilty about his language and tone?
C) Worried that things are going to boil over?
When we FEEL uncomfortable after a discussion, it is our body telling us that something is not okay. In an effort to prevent unhealthy communication, it is important to communicate with others in a healthy, timely, and assertive way – Review CHARM handout in Resources, found at the end of this story
CONTINUE
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laptopMonica turns to the internet and finds three possible options, but questions each one.
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Parenting Blog – Can I trust them? Are they qualified? Are there any fees?
Local Library – How would I get there? Who would watch the kids? What about COVID?
Certified Lactation Educator – What would my mother say about me needing help? But I do, and if I could talk to someone today, maybe I should?
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clockAfter balancing the pros & cons of each option, Monica decides to schedule an online appointment with the Certified Lactation Educator for 1PM.
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Hello, I’m Lupe your Certified Lactation Educator, thank you for being here. I know it can be tough caring for a newborn.
Thank you, it has been, especially with COVID added on.
Exactly, which is why I would like to ask you questions from our Health Assessment Questionnaire to better understand your needs. Is that okay?
Okay.
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How about sleeping? Are you getting enough rest?
Kind of, the kids are restless and James works a lot.
What about your diet? Are you eating regularly?
Ah, yeah...
What would you say is your biggest concern with breastfeeding?
That I’m doing it all wrong. Henry just refuses to nurse.
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Henry’s awake, and he’s crying really loud!
I’m sorry, I’ll be right back.
But wasn’t I a good helper for telling you, Mommy?
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When Monica leaves to check on Henry, she accidentally bumps the laptop, allowing Lupe to notice the dishes, baby bottles and wine bottles in the kitchen. These clues help Lupe better understand Monica and her family's situation.
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I’m sorry about that.
Don’t be, you’re doing your best.
Who do you have in your support circle? James? Friends? Neighbors? Your mom?
Yeah right, that’s why I went on a frantic internet search and found you.
I’m glad you did.
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I see you’re feeding Henry from a bottle?
Only when he refuses to nurse, which is why I also pump.
You know, sometimes babies get confused and refuse to nurse if they’re introduced to different devices? Removing all pacifiers and bottles from Henry’s routine could help him nurse. What do you think about trying that?
I can try.
Wonderful!
CONTINUE
BACK
While this might help with Monica’s breastfeeding challenges, by not addressing other family issues, the tensions and arguments in the home will likely continue, and possibly escalate.
How else could Lupe address her concerns with Monica?
GO BACK
BACK
After addressing Monica’s breastfeeding concerns, Lupe offers resources regarding possible alcohol abuse in the home and the consumption of alcohol while breastfeeding.
Remember to eat healthy meals, keep taking your vitamins, and if anyone is drinking too much in the home, please know that there are resources...
Drinking?
There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Our stress finds ways to cope. I can connect you and James with resources that can support you both through this time.
I just don’t know what to do anymore.
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You’re not alone. Many parents suffer in silence until they find healthier ways to cope, sometimes in support circles with other parents or by meeting with a counselor.
Other parents?
Just like you. You and James could go together, or separately. Whatever feels right for you. Would you like more information?
Yes I would, thank you. I am not sure he’d be up for it, but I can review it.
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Dealing with substance abuse issues can be a long and difficult road. Yet if alcohol is a problem, it should be addressed.
Is there something else Lupe could offer that would provide a more immediate benefit to Monica and her family?
GO BACK
BACK
After addressing Monica’s breastfeeding concerns, Lupe offers a resource to assist the family’s financial needs.
You mentioned that James works a lot, is he aware that he can take time off from work to bond with Henry and help out at home?
Take time off, I wish. Only mothers get that.
No, fathers too. All parents are eligible for Paid Family Leave to bond with their babies and take care of loved ones.
Paid? Sign us up, please!
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Hey, I'm sorry about this morning. You are working, and way too much, for all of us. I wish I could take time off and help you, especially with Henry.
I'm so happy to hear you say that because I talked to a Certified Lactation Educator today who helped me understand why Henry won’t nurse and she also told me about a program that pays partial wage for parents to stay home and bond with their babies. I've been researching online and it's all true. Look!
Parents, especially fathers and low-income workers, often don’t know or understand their rights to Paid Family Leave, denying themselves and their families’ time to bond and care for each other. With this support, Monica’s family can have more time to support one another.
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Are you facing similar concerns?

Do you know someone who is?

How might you be able to help?

All three options provided Monica with the help she was searching for, yet when Lupe took the time to look further and listen attentively, especially to what Monica wasn’t saying, she was better able to address concerns and share resources that could potentially help Monica and her family in ways they didn’t know they needed.

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If someone comes to you for help, how likely are you to provide support for their needs outside of their initial request?

Be like Lupe and know –
Monica matters.

RESOURCES