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Rebecca Jones

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Rebecca Jones

Rebecca Jones

It can be really challenging being a parent with a brain injury.

There are many challenges that come hand-in-hand with brain injury, from the cognitive and physical effects to practical issues. But one challenge that is often overlooked is the struggle of parenting after brain injury.

28-year old Rebecca Jones, from Gwynedd, found that becoming a mother was one of the toughest challenges she had to face after her brain injury.

In 2010, Rebecca was a passenger in a car accident. She sustained a traumatic brain injury and spent a number of days in and out of consciousness.

Following the accident, Rebecca had post-traumatic amnesia for one month and still to this day doesn't remember the sequence of events that led to her injury - all she's been able to do is piece together the information she's been told by others.

She has since been forced to live with the lasting effects of her injury, including fatigue, memory problems and behavioural issues.

Rebecca said: "It can be really difficult at times because I've changed so much since the accident. I always used to be out and about, socialising and hanging out with friends, but now the fatigue means I'm constantly exhausted and can't do the things I used to enjoy.

"The memory loss has also presented its own challenges and I can find it difficult to concentrate at times which means I lose my temper."

Five years after the accident, Rebecca fell pregnant and had her first son, Theo. But the hidden effects of her injury, in particular memory loss and fatigue, have made her role as a mother far more difficult than she ever anticipated.

Rebecca in hospital following the accident

Rebecca in hospital following the accident

On one occasion, Rebecca forgot that Theo's school was hosting a fancy dress day and instead, she sent him to school in his uniform.

Talking about the incident, Rebecca said: "It really upset me. I was absolutely heartbroken and I felt as though I'd let Theo down. I just remember crying about it so much - it destroyed me.

"I had to run home to fetch him something to change in to. But just thinking about him stood in his uniform while all his friends were in their costumes breaks my heart.

"It's hard enough being a mum at times, let alone being a mum who's constantly fatigued and forgets almost everything.

It can be really challenging being a parent with a brain injury.

Thankfully, she has found a solution in the form of technology.

Rebecca said: "My phone is my brain now. Everything I need to know and remember is on there - either in my notepad app or calendar. It's been a lifesaver.

"I've also been able to use certain software, such as a voice reader, to help me remember upcoming events. When Theo's school send me an email, the software I've downloaded reads it out loud for me, then I can quickly jot any information down in my calendar so I don't forget it."

Rebecca has also received help from her local Headway branch in Gwynedd, Wales. Rebecca says that the charity's chairperson, Nicola Brown, has been a constant source of support for her.

"When I found out that Nicola had a brain injury as well, it made me feel as though I had someone to talk to who really understood what I was going through," she said.

"Not only that, but everyone at Headway is in the same boat. People are able to share their experiences and tips for managing the effects of their injury. It's a really great environment to be a part of."

Rebecca, who is currently pregnant with her second child, says that if she could give one piece of advice to other parents with a brain injury, it would be to ask for the help and support of loved ones.

"I've got a wonderful support system made up of friends and family," she said. "They've been there for me after the brain injury, and again when I had Theo.

It's really important to surround yourself with people who care and want to help out. It can make such a huge difference.
 

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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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