Bec's story

3 minute read
Video duration 3:02
I care for my three children, and that's Oliver, Theodore and Gwendolyn and they all have different needs. So Oliver and Theodore both needed speech therapy in order to be able to be effective communicators at school. My daughter, Gwendolyn, she is a different kettle of fish altogether.
So she is globally delayed and also has a peg. So that's a little button in her tummy where she gets her feeds because she is unable to swallow. Quite late in my journey as a mother did I realise that I was a carer and beyond just being a parent.
I think that came from the medical teams that were working along my three children. They told me that you need to get some extra support, this is a lot that you're doing beyond normal parent raising responsibilities. Some of the challenges in my life, my day to day life, are that I work part-time and then completing work commitments, and then committing to the therapies that the kids need.
So my well being has obviously been impacted as a carer because that time that you get to spend on yourself. I've had to cut back on my career and every other aspect of my life and certainly having the reward of seeing the kids succeed certainly gives that real sense of well being. So my experience with Carer Gateway was that I actually didn't know it existed.
On my journey as a carer, I'm finding out a lot of things, and so it was a surprise to find out that there was such a support service. I have a big sense of community. I like that sense of feeling I belong and giving back to the community. 
So in my career as a teacher, I was a caregiver there and then as a volunteer in the rural fire service. So many things bring me joy, first of all my family, and that's when my children are able to do everyday accomplishments, doing things that we love doing. So going on bike rides, going to the skate park, going to the beach and seeing my family just enjoy themselves and forget about the stresses that we have.
So my greatest achievements are my children, and seeing them succeed in life and thrive and continue to do so despite the challenges that they have faced. And my other sense of achievement, I would say, is I'm quite driven and have been promoted to DC. So an officer in my local brigade and also as a head teacher of a faculty, again, being promoted into that position. So the best thing about being a carer is watching my children achieve their goals.
The advice I would give to other unpaid carers is, don't be so hard on yourself and there are always support services out there such as Carer Gateway, and they should really access it. It provided a lot of support for me.

Meet Bec

Bec cares for her three children, Oliver, Theodore and Gwendolyn, who each require different levels of care.

Her daughter, Gwendolyn, needs the most care as she has a developmental delay and is at a high risk of developing Cerebral Palsy.

From parent to carer

Bec didn’t think of herself as a carer when she was caring for her sons Oliver and Theodore, but that changed when she started caring for Gwendolyn.

'I realised I wasn’t caring for them as a parent would, it was more than that,' she said.

On reflection of the past several years caring for her children, Bec realised she had to make a lot of modifications to her life, in terms of her own health and wellness, finances and career.

She wouldn’t change a single thing though. 'That’s what a parent does, you do it because you love them and want the absolute best for them.'

A carer at heart

Bec has a deep sense of care for others and has always wanted to help people. Beyond caring for her children, Bec loves her job as a high school science teacher and head of the science department. She also volunteers as a firefighter in her spare time with the Rural Fire Service (RFS).

'I first joined the RFS because I wanted to help people and have a break from my everyday life. It has actually become one of my greatest achievements, helping with the 2019/20 bushfires and getting elected as a Deputy Captain in my brigade. I’m the only female in my brigade too,' Bec said.

Support she didn’t know existed

Bec had no idea that Carer Gateway existed, because no one had told her. But once she found out about Carer Gateway, she started exploring and found the tips and skills courses pages.

'My stress levels would have been much higher if I hadn’t found Carer Gateway. Because I’m quite time poor, I like learning about topics such as the top 10 tips for parents. As a teacher, I’m also always looking for ways to upskill, so I really enjoy completing the skills courses,' she says.

If there was one piece of advice Bec could give to other carers in similar situations, it would be to not be so hard on yourself.

'You are doing the best you can. Just know that there are support services out there for you. If I had known about Carer Gateway and other services earlier, I would have had more confidence in what I was doing.'