Mary, a young woman whose identity remains private, shared her story with RSVP Live having navigated through the complexities of homelessness, pregnancy, and the challenges of early motherhood.

Mary's tumultuous journey began at the age of 20 when she shared the news of her pregnancy with her family.

The reaction was far from supportive, leading to a breakdown in family relations.

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Forced to leave her home due to overcrowding concerns and facing physical violence from her father, Mary found herself in a desperate situation.

With no family support, she sought refuge with friends who, though well-intentioned, had their own busy lives.

Feeling isolated and burdened, Mary reached out to Anew through their email helpline.

Two days later, she found herself at Anew's Day Service in Haven House, Dublin, where specialised Social Care Workers provided a safe space for her to express her fears and anxieties.

Mary's story unfolded, revealing the absence of support from both her family and the father of her child.

Anew's dedicated team embarked on a comprehensive approach to assist Mary. The "Empower Programme," led by a Midwife Social Care Worker, focused on Mary's pregnancy, providing education and support tailored to her unique situation.

This program addressed the isolation Mary felt in traditional maternity services, recognising the challenges she faced without a stable home or partner.

Anew's Housing Officer worked closely with Mary, helping her connect with local resources and navigate the homelessness assessment process.

This task was particularly challenging as Mary lacked a private space for making or taking phone calls.

Eventually, at 30 weeks pregnant, Mary secured a place in Anew's 24-hour specialised accommodation, Cherry Blossom Cottage.

Cherry Blossom Cottage became a haven for Mary, providing not only shelter but also emotional support. The staff at Anew observed Mary's transformation—from tears and anxiety to a more settled and confident state.

Her love for cooking became a way to connect with other women in similar situations, forming positive relationships and shared experiences.

Mary's premature delivery at 33 weeks presented new challenges. Her baby spent four weeks in neo-natal intensive care, adding stress to an already difficult situation.

Anew have been supporting pregnant women and new mothers, particularly those at risk of or experiencing homelessness, since 1981
Anew have been supporting pregnant women and new mothers, particularly those at risk of or experiencing homelessness, since 1981

As weeks passed, Mary's baby made progress, and her mental health improved.

Reconnecting with her mother, who visited Mary and her baby in the Cottage, marked a significant step in healing family relationships.

However, the struggle for stable accommodation persisted, eventually leading Mary and her baby to a Family Hub near Dublin city centre.

Engaging in the Peer Support and "Nurture" program at Haven House, Mary found camaraderie with other mothers in similar situations.

Anew Support Services is the sole charity in Ireland aiding pregnant women and new mothers facing homelessness.

Since the beginning of 2023, Anew’s referrals have tripled for accommodation and other supports.

Please contact Anew: E-mail: or Phone: 01 635 1492

All maternity hospitals have medical social workers.

Any women can contact them for support and they will signpost them to the appropriate service.

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