When my oldest was a baby I really struggled with breastfeeding. We had many problems, some were physical and others were based on my perception of babies, breastfeeding and motherhood. One of my greatest sources of support during that difficult time were the various breastfeeding groups I attended, a place to get help with the physical issues and somewhere to meet other mums, some like me and still struggling which helped me feel like I wasn’t alone, and others who were past that stage and gave me hope and inspiration to carry on.
When my second child was born breastfeeding was much more straightforward, but I still attended the breastfeeding groups, I didn’t need the practical help so much this time round but I still very much needed the opportunity to meet other mums and socialise (and often eat cake!)
I realised that with the knowledge and experience I had gained breastfeeding two children that I could do more than just eat the cake so I decided to become a volunteer.
I love being a peer supporter, I know how important breastfeeding can be to women, and also how difficult it can be; I hope that by being a listening ear and passing on the things I have learned encourages the women that come to the group that they can reach their breastfeeding goals, regardless of if that’s measured in weeks, months or years.
From a less altruistic view, volunteering benefits me too; I am currently a stay at home mum, I will return to work at some point in the future, but volunteering gives me training and development opportunities and something to ‘fill the gap’ on my CV in the meantime. It is something I do for me that is about me and not centred on my family unlike pretty much everything else I do! It is also something I feel passionate about – I don’t feel like I’m giving up my time, I absolutely feel like I get more than I give.