Rosita was six
months pregnant when she moved to a rural home in Aberdeenshire with her husband
Mark following political unrest in Rosita’s native country of Venezuela. The
couple had decided it would not be a safe environment to bring up a baby. Mark
continues to work abroad and when their daughter was born Rosita experienced
severe post-natal depression to the day when she contacted Home-Start Deveron
having contemplated suicide.
Rosita says “I was excited to move here but
wasn’t prepared for how lonely I would feel especially after my baby was born.
Mark was working away, I missed my family so much and the weather was freezing!
I spent hours just crying all the time, I was scared to tell the Health Visitor
as I thought they would take my baby away from me, I remember phoning and
telling Home-Start that I wanted to just sleep.”
With the support of her
volunteer she has begun to learn English and is now attending a mother and
toddler group which has enabled her to feel less isolated.
Ann has spina bifida and needed help with 3 year old Scott when her condition deteriorated. Home-Start liaised with other agencies and helped organise respite childcare and transport so Scott could attend his playgroup sessions. During the weekly visits the volunteer has enabled Ann to manage her situation and look forward to a more positive future.
Mary and John have
4 children and initially had support from a volunteer shortly after giving birth
to twins. John works offshore and Mary needed some practical help. Nine months
ago one of the twins was diagnosed with leukaemia which has entailed frequent
trips to hospital to receive chemotherapy treatment.
“The news was
devastating; to be told that your child has cancer, it was news that was to turn
our world upside down, our emotions went into overdrive, and without the support
from Home-Start Deveron we would be finding this whole situation so much
Janet’s daughter uses drugs. She had a 6 month daughter Ellie who was badly neglected so Janet made the difficult decision to take on the fulltime care for her grand-daughter.
“I had no option, I couldn’t see Ellie taken away but I knew she shouldn’t live in the mess that my daughter was exposing her to. I felt out of my depths but Home-Start Deveron never judged me or my family I just got the support I needed to cope. I was so much older than the other mums at the groups but my volunteer went along with me so I didn’t feel so lonely.”
Alison* has four children aged between two and sixteen years. Her two sons aged 2 and 6 both have learning difficulties due to an inherited genetic condition. Ten years ago Alison lost twins in late pregnancy and four years ago lost another child, these losses related to the genetic condition, of which she is a carrier. Alison was very low when she first got involved with Home-Start Deveron. She lacked confidence and felt a bit hopeless. She didn’t like going out because she felt very judged when her children started ‘acting up’ in public.
Alison’s Home-Start Deveron volunteer has been a huge support to her – pushing her to do things, to look after herself, not just the children. Alison has appreciated the help she has had from Home-Start Deveron, helping her manage the children’s needs better. She has appreciated the time and patience of staff and volunteers working with her and her son. She gave her the support and encouragement needed to take on new challenges and learn new things, including driving. As time has gone on, Alison has become more confident and able to cope.
Anne* has twins of 18 months. Anne says she didn’t have a clue about babies before the twins arrived; neither she nor her partner had ever had any real experience of looking after an infant before and it was all new to them. Anne’s family lived quite far away, and her in-laws, while closer at hand, were not on the door step either. When she was pregnant, her midwife put her in touch with Home-Start Deveron for support, as having twins is very different from having one new baby. Anne didn’t think that the service was really for her and declined the help. However after the twins were born she struggled to cope as the twins were demanding and suffered from bad reflux, Anne became exhausted and felt unable to cope – but she felt under pressure to keep up the appearance that she was ok and enjoying motherhood.
Anne developed post-natal depression. Looking back she says that her experiences probably weren’t too different from other new mums but when she was depressed she lost her sense of perspective. Anne has recovered well and is able to cope with the twins. Her Health Visitor suggested she get back in touch with Home-Start Deveron to try Baby Massage. Anne really enjoyed the sessions and also started to attend Twinkles, our group for parents of twins/multiple births.
Anne has since highlighted that before she actually used Home-Start services, she thought they were for socially disadvantaged people, not for financially secure, well educated , professional parents. She now feels quite strongly that this perception of Home-Start Deveron is wrong, and people from diverse backgrounds can use this type of support. Home-Start Deveron provided a good access point for her when she was reluctant to ask for help, and she thinks there could be other parents in the same situation.
Karen* and Scott* moved to a new house with their three children, Karen has children from a previous relationship and has mild learning difficulties. The family were defying some expectations by managing to cope with a new baby and the complex family make up. They received weekly support from a Home-Start Deveron volunteer. Karen said she really liked her Home-Start Deveron volunteer as she felt able to talk to her about anything – things she couldn’t talk to anyone else about.
Karen had some very negative experiences with officialdom and her levels of trust in social workers and health visitors was low, but by contrast she listened to the Home-Start volunteer’s advice and trusted her. Karen struggled with documents and filling in forms, so appreciated practical help with these things.
Scott is very protective over Karen and worked hard to keep the household running smoothly, doing the cooking and having a very hands-on role with the children. They attended positive parenting classes and demonstrated the techniques at home. They appreciated the fact that their volunteer was supportive and gave practical advice without being patronising or condescending towards them. They are doing their best to care for their children but just need some support to do that.