12 May 2023

Where are they now? Meet former first responder Hayleigh

In celebration of Mother’s Day, we recently spoke to Hayleigh, a former police officer, who reflected on her IVF journey and becoming a mother whilst working as a first responder. 

“Administering injections whilst on duty I remember arriving at a priority 2 disturbance and assisting with the arrest of two assault suspects. My adrenaline still pumping as the scene settled, an alarm activated on my watch, which indicated injection time. Imperative to simultaneously administer two injections every day I sat in the driver’s seat of the Police car and administered them both as quickly and safely as possible to then return immediately to protecting the community. This process continued for 3 weeks along with blood tests and scans in between jobs, at mealtimes and with unforgettable support from my colleagues.”

At this time, Hayleigh was regularly working Operation Nightsafe, amongst busy nightclubs, pubs, and bars. Hayleigh became peer support during her pregnancy and assisted new probationary constables as they arrived newly trained from the police academy. Returning to work after welcoming her newborn daughter, Hayleigh and her husband, also a first responder, attempted to reduce the strain on their family caused by shift work. Unable to change to daytime work or move to a more local station and putting their family above their careers, they both began looking at other options.

“I loved my job, but there just wasn’t that flexibility to be able to adapt to that new life and our new family.” 

From there, both Hayleigh and her husband accessed Fortem’s career transition program and support services following a friend’s recommendation. “My identity had changed completely. I was now a mum and considering no longer being a Police Officer, so who was I? I was in a dark confused place, so I accessed the mental health services provided by Fortem who taught me patience and self-care above everything else during our family’s transition. As a family we attended some wonderful Fortem activities such as surfing and nature walks which helped us look to the future and onto new adventures and we also connected with other first responders in a similar state of mind”.

When asked what advice she would give other first responders considering a new career away from service, Hayleigh said, “You’re not alone and its natural evolution for priorities to change from time to time. You’ve done your duty. Now it’s time to be kind to yourself.”

Hayleigh now works for Uniting WA, a not-for-profit charity, that helps those escaping domestic violence and runs her own resume writing business helping first responders’ transition as she did. “It’s very fulfilling work as I help victims escape violent relationships and provide them with the financial support to do so. As a mother I know how important it is to have a safe, happy home for my family and helping domestic violence survivors achieve just that is more rewarding than I ever imagined.”

When reflecting on her newfound work-life balance, Hayleigh said, “I now have the flexibility to work from home which allows me to be a caring and loving mother much more often, but more importantly I can read my beautiful daughter a bed time story, every night, tuck her in and sink into a feeling of bliss as I watch her sleep peacefully knowing mummy and daddy are just in the next room.”

Check out Fortem’s Career Management Program.