The support Birth Companions gave me to this day is overwhelming.
When I arrived in prison I was the lowest anyone can be, my biggest fear being my failure as a mother. I’d left two small children and although they were being looked after by my family, I couldn’t help but feel heartbroken. The surroundings and environment wasn’t my worry it was the fact that I was 23, pregnant with my third child, and facing a lengthy prison sentence. Every day I woke up telling myself I’d failed and when I was moved up to the pregnancy landing, I just wanted to shut myself off, keep out of the way and sleep the days away.
Whilst seeing the midwife she mentioned there was an antenatal group run by the Birth Companions and at first I wasn’t keen but talking to one of the officers she assured me that it would at least break up the day. When I arrived at the group I felt so welcome, reassured and even more importantly accepted. I was encouraged to speak, never asked about why I was in prison and felt comfortable enough to open up about my hopes, fears and expectations as a mother to be. For two hours it felt like we were a normal group of mums and I can honestly say you forget where you are. I felt camaraderie with the group.
When I gave birth to my baby the support I had from Birth Companions was amazing. They really were my voice when I was in the hospital when it came to the officers and nurses. I even felt confident enough to breastfeed at the hospital which I had never done. They gave me the right amount of advice and support which encouraged me to give it a try, which I loved. I didn’t have my son in prison with me unfortunately but they taught me to express so my son could still benefit, which is the best thing I ever did.
I feel the support you get from Birth Companions is essential. It’s not just the practical support you get but the emotional warmth, sincerity and empathy. They are amazing and I owe so much to them. They really encouraged me and brought out my confidence as a mother. I am now strong, positive and determined to be the best mum I can be.