The health visitor initially referred the family, as they had recently moved to the area and were living in a first-floor flat in a rural location. Mum, Anna did not have any local support, did not know the area and did not have any friends. Dad, Oliver, worked long hours and so Anna was alone for a large part of the day. She was anxious about being a new mum and was unsure about whether she was doing the right things with her daughter Amy (5 months). She was also anxious about leaving the flat, as she did not know the local area and could not drive.
What did we do?
The volunteer was able to build a trusting relationship with Anna, who felt able to talk through her concerns with the volunteer. The volunteer gave Anna reassurance about how well she was doing.
She supported Anna with weaning and talked through ideas for stimulation and play, e.g. promoting early reading, the importance of “tummy time” and that talking to her daughter, even at a young age, was great for both Anna and Amy.
Once trust had been established, Anna and the volunteer explored what local groups were available – Anna was very worried and anxious about going to anything on her own.
There was only one group that was near enough for Anna to access without a car. Anna and the volunteer looked together for a way to walk to the group, which did not involve being alongside a busy road with very narrow pavements. The volunteer then walked with Anna to the group and encouraged her with lots of reassurance.
Gradually Anna built up the confidence to talk to other parents at the group. Step by step, the volunteer took more of a back seat whilst they were at the group and subsequently arranged to meet her there. Eventually Anna felt able to go the group independently.
What difference did we make?
The volunteer supported Anna to attend a local group and make friends with other parents. Anna’s confidence increased, so that she was able to access this group on her own.
Anna also increased in confidence in caring for her daughter and said she felt able to cope and was less worried that she was doing the wrong thing.
Anna realised another parent at the group lived close to her and with the volunteer’s encouragement invited her in for a coffee. This started them getting together regularly.