Updated: Jul 3, 2022
This post looks at interviewing one of our perinatal supporters, to gain an insight into what it is like being a perinatal supporter for Connected!
What it's like to be a volunteer?
I am currently over halfway through the six-month training programme to be a peer support volunteer with DCPP. I can honestly say it's one of the best things I ever decided to do! A difficult journey into motherhood including perinatal mental health issues, pregnancy loss and the roller coaster of infertility and IVF led me to feel passionate about using my lived experiences in a positive way to help others. I applied for the programme thinking that it would be a good way for me to do that. In reality, it's changed my perception of myself and my experiences, offered me opportunities to develop my knowledge base, and grown my confidence tenfold. I have also met a group of people in my volunteer cohort who I hope to have as friends for life.
DCPP invest heavily in the training, well-being and development of their volunteers. As someone who works in a sector that is predominately volunteer based I can see that what they are offering us is best practice in working with volunteers. It is an honour and privilege to be part of this programme. Thank you DCPP!
To anyone thinking of volunteering, don't hesitate to apply. You will feel supported, and valued and it could change your life!
What it's like to offer peer support in the hospital?
As a new volunteer, having had my youngest child just a year ago, the idea of being back in the maternity ward was both exciting and scary! I couldn't wait to meet new families, offer support and meet the newborns of course! The last time I'd walked through the maternity entrance was with a huge bump, heading into the hospital for my C Section and being absolutely terrified.
I love visiting the hospital, we meet such a diverse range of new mums and families and it's a real honour to share some of that experience with them. It can be very lonely in hospital, waiting to be discharged, and being a friendly face happy to sit and talk or offer support is so clearly valued and welcome.
As an expectant or brand new mum, having a mental health disorder to cope with alongside all the other emotions and complexities of pregnancy and birth is overwhelming. I know this all too well having been through Perinatal Mental Health services with both of my children. When I went onto the ward I was very conscious that around 1 in 8 women will experience mental health distress during pregnancy or after the baby is born. If I'd had someone who understood to sit and talk to after my births before I could go home, it would have made all the difference in the world to me.
If you are interested in being a volunteer and would like to find out more, click here!