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Thursday, 12 January 2017

Volunteering...is it crazy to volunteer when you're borassic?



Borassic Lint = skint...showing my London roots today!  Anyway, yes, am I mad for volunteering an afternoon a week and sometimes more in my local hospital when I need to earn money?  Sort of.  I do feel that charity begins at home, and it's my job to provide as best as I can for my family, putting food on the table at the end of the month when things get tight. 

I've always been lucky in that respect, because even when things have been pretty dire, I've always been able to rustle a meal up from somewhere, and there's always been a roof over my head, for which I have much gratitude, and also is a tangible display of the rightness of my faith that the universe is supporting and looking after us.

I do my very best to bring in money for us, doing the things I love to do, and some things I'm less keen on, like cleaning.  But there's one thing that I love to do, but don't get paid for in money, but receive riches beyond what I could describe.  Supporting women and their babies to breastfeed is one of the most rewarding parts of my life, which is funny when I think about how much I dreaded working in the clinics after my peer support training four years ago.  I did the 16 week course by the La Leche League with my local community NHS trust in order to improve my confidence in supporting my postnatal clients in my doula practice.  The course was free, but the obligation was to volunteer in the community clinics for six months afterwards, and I dreaded this part. 

The reason I dreaded it was that my experiences of breastfeeding as a mum were ones of pain, lack of support and frustration, so I associated supporting women to breastfeed with these negative feelings.  Actually what I found was women who were brave, persistent, determined to feed their babies in the way that they wanted to , even when it was challenging, painful and hard going.  These women inspired me, and so did some of the healthcare professionals I worked with.  I continued with volunteering way beyond my six months, and four years on, I'm working at my local hospital drop-in clinic.

It's sometimes challenging, but always rewarding.  things don't always go well for the women, but we get the opportunity to offer our support, whatever happens.  It is such a gift to have time to listen to someone, properly listen.  I couldn't buy that.
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