"My journey so far with Sure Start"
Posted by Xsmithx (as ),
My journey with started 5 years ago. I was 19 and was a career for my brother and sister. My mum put my name on the volunteers course. I didn't have a clue what sure start was all about. I completed my volunteers course and did a bit of volunteering but I decided not to do any more after a month of doing it as I just felt like I didn't fit in because I was young.
A few months later I fell pregnant, still living with my mum and four younger brothers and sisters. Life was pretty hard at that time.
When my midwife came to see me at 10 weeks pregnant and asked me how I was going to feed my baby I replied breast feeding is for older mums, I'm bottle feeding. At 30-32 weeks pregnant something clicked and I decided I was going to try and breast feed. I told my midwife and she just gave me a DVD to watch and nothing else was said about breast feeding. At 36 weeks I went to antenatal class, I was the youngest one there and felt really uncomfortable so I didn't attend the next 3.
By the time my son was 6 weeks old, I was really struggling with breast feeding, my baby wasn't sleeping and all he did all day and night was cry. I felt so alone and I had lack of support. Living with my mum was getting harder too.
My midwife put me in contact with a breast feeding peer supporter and she met me before I went into the breast feeding group at the summer house. The peer supporters made feel very welcoming. There were all mature older mums that attended the group and I felt very lonely while I was in the group, as they talked about meeting up with each other and their husbands and going on expensive shopping trips. I felt like they looked down on me for being so young, there were a few comments made about people being on benefits etc., if I wasn't so stubborn then I would have not attended the group again.
At 8 weeks, I had a home visit from a family health and support worker called Nina, who explained that she would support me through breast feeding and other obstacles that I was facing. I had the support for just over a year and if it wasn't for her I would have stopped breast feeding and not be as strong as I am now. When I felt really low or needed cry I knew Nina was just a phone call away.
When my little boy was 18 months old, I stopped feeding him myself and started a breast feeding peer support course. I wanted to do the course because I wanted to see younger mums like me breastfeed. It's been 2 years now since I did my breastfeeding support course and I have gone on to do other things. Jayne Gorewoda gave me the confidence boost I needed and enrolled me on the nvq level 3 child care. Working along side her a lot has made realise that she does a fantastic job and I now want to become a community development worker. Life is still hard as I volunteer all day most days, I look after my son and I am a career for my brothers and sister and 1 of my sisters is Autistic, so she is very challenging at times but with all the incredible support that I receive from Jayne and the team, it makes life a little easier.
I would like to see more support groups for the younger parents because they do get treated different by older parents. I see it happen in groups and it's still happening to me now. There are a lot of young parents in the community and I often ask my self why they aren't attending the Sure Start groups. I think it would be nice for more support from Sure Start during pregnancy. As a volunteer, I think it would be nice to see volunteers across the Ashfield district, they all do a fantastic job and it would be nice to meet them.
I am very proud to be a Sure start volunteer and work with fantastic staff. You have a brilliant bunch of staff members at Kirkby that inspire me so much.