I felt a huge amount of support, I was able to share my experiences with the other girls and the birth companions without fear of judgement.

Monica's story

Going six months back….this was one of the most special times in my life, when my little baby came into this world.

My whole pregnancy was thinking and stressing about how my birth would take place. Would I be ok? Would my baby be alright? As a first-time mum, a lot of questions came to my mind. I was very nervous and thought it would be hard. But the birth companions guided and supported me all the way.

As I got to the hospital, I asked for my family and Birth Companions to be called. My sister has two little kids and with the short notice couldn’t get to the hospital on time but my birth companion came. She got me a hot towel and massaged my stiff neck. She held my hand and helped me breathe through all the bad contractions. I did get depressed at one stage but with her next to me, giving me courage, I fought it well.

My birth companion gave me a phone card so that as soon as I had my baby I could call my family abroad and give them the good news. She also took beautiful pictures of me and my baby for us to treasure. Having a birth companion assured me that everything was OK. So all I want to say is that even though I was a prisoner and there were officers around, having the birth companion blanked all that out. After all the procedures, my birth companion held the baby while I had a shower and stayed with me till I was transferred and settled on to the postnatal ward at 1am. What a blessing! I worried she would miss her train home.

The next day Birth Companions phoned to see how I was and a birth companion came to visit me. I was very happy and thankful too. When I got back to the prison, there was the Birth Companions group every week, helping all the mums to get to know our bundles of joy.

That’s my story. I know you all won’t understand how I felt but trust me, I felt safe.