When Rukhsana Hassan, 30, was offered the support of a Home-Start Better Start volunteer, she was initially reluctant to let a ‘stranger’ help her. Looking back, she realises that saying ‘yes’ was one of the best decisions she has ever made.
I have three children: Ali-Akbar, 6, Tayyibah, 4 and my youngest Sakinah who is eight months old.
I suffer from severe headaches and extreme migraines which means that I need all the support I can get to take care of my children. Due to this condition, medical professionals elected me for a planned caesarean section.
When I was pregnant with Sakinah, my midwife told me all about the Home-Start Better Start volunteers. At first I was unsure and I thought ‘no way – I can’t let a stranger come and do stuff for me’. With great thought and consideration, I decided that I had nothing to lose and given my health and the recovery period after the caesarean, an extra pair of hands was definitely going to come in useful.
I let Jane, the Home-Start Better Start co-ordinator, and volunteer Asma come into my home. I needn’t have worried as they were both so lovely and caring and supported me through this whole exciting experience. They became like good friends and the children got quickly used to their presence.
My volunteer became my ‘extra pair of hands’
My condition can make day-to-day life very difficult and this can make what should be a happy time very stressful. Asma became my ‘extra pair of hands’ and while I am a very independent person and like to do things myself, knowing I had Asma as a back-up was a huge relief. I always knew I had someone I could talk to about the whole experience of having a new-born.
Asma also told me about other activities and sessions that would be of interest to me and my family and even came with me to a couple of fun days.
Having Asma around also meant that my two older children were still getting all the attention that they needed and felt they were part of this experience. Because of my caesarean, I couldn’t physically get on the floor with them and play with them, but Asma could.
The support I received helped me believe in myself and helped me to realise that accepting support from others when needed is not a bad thing. No matter how strong and independent you think you are: you do still need support from others. I now believe that having a Home-Start Better Start volunteer in my life is one of the best decisions I have made – I only wish I could have had them for longer!
About Home-Start Better Start
Home-Start Better Start provides peer support, friendship and practical help to families with children aged under four and during pregnancy. Families are matched with a volunteer peer supporter who will come into the family home to offer understanding, reassurance, a listening ear and an extra pair of hands to help families cope with everyday situations.
To find out more visit Home-Start Better Start on our projects page.
If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with Home-Start Better Start, visit our volunteering page.