"My baby was born just over a year ago. I don’t have my family here so I had no support."
My baby was born just over a year ago. I don’t have my family here so I had no support: after she was born I just stayed at home and only went out to go shopping, I didn’t do anything else. When she was about two months old I met someone from Birth Companions. She invited me to join a new group they were starting – that was six months ago now.
I’ve been to mum and baby groups in my local Children’s Centre where you go along, play with your baby, and when it finishes you just go home. Sometimes the mums don’t even talk to each other. The Birth Companions group is completely different, it’s special.
Everybody is really welcoming, everybody smiles and even if the staff members have a lot of things to do they will give us time. Every week when I come they all ask me: how are you, how was your week? They want to know about me and how I feel… that shows they really care about me.
If I have any issue I will come here and speak to one of the staff members and they will listen to me and if they can, they will help me sort out my problem. When I got my new property I had literally nothing in the house. I spoke to the group co-ordinator and she found me a sofa and a small cabinet, and also clothes and toys for my baby. Even now if I need some new clothes for her or toys that are age appropriate, they help get those for us.
The other mums are very supportive too, even though our life experiences are very different we can still share these. We are encouraged to get to know each other and there’s freedom to talk, it’s really good to be able to share. If I have any problem I can bring it to the table and then we will discuss it to find a solution.
The group is small and you have time to talk and spend time with everyone, and I get a chance to relax. It’s not what you would normally expect from a mum and baby group, even from other voluntary organisations. I come every week, I only missed once I think. I never make appointments on the same day as the group.
The atmosphere is great for the children too, I can see a big difference in my daughter since she started coming: she’s so active now. The place is clean and they have enough toys for all the children: things we don’t have at home my baby finds here so that’s very good for her. Most of the women I know had support from Birth Companions when they were pregnant: they prepared everything for the woman and the baby and one of my friends told me they even gave her a massage! I wish I knew about this group before I had my baby.
I have recently started training to become a Birth Companions’ peer supporter and it’s so interesting. I was really happy to have been asked to do it. I’ve learned so much, things I didn’t know even though I’ve been a service user myself. I’m building skills and soon I’ll be able to help other women. I want to say thank you to Birth Companions for giving me this chance.
The main thing I got from Birth Companions? Love: this group is like a family.