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Maternity Mates - Testimonials

WHFS (Women's Health & Family Services) has been supporting women in Tower Hamlets since 1981 and the Maternity Mates™ programme was established in 2010 to help pregnant women. Our Maternity Mates staff and volunteers take great pride in their rewarding work and the feedback we have received reflects their dedication.


The mums' experiences of Maternity Mates

“She’s been great at listening to me.   Sometimes talking about my worries made me realise actually I had made them bigger in my head than they actually were. She really helped me put things in perspective.” (Mum)

“My Maternity Mate was a very nice lady, she was very understanding and I found her to be very comforting.   She understood why I felt so low and some days I did not want to do anything but she has helped me rebuild my confidence a little.” (Mum)

“Without them I would not even know there were antenatal classes. My Maternity Mate booked the antenatal class for me."  (Mum)

"I felt that I was treated well by everyone involved during my labour because my Maternity Mate made sure I was OK and that the midwives were respecting my wishes.  I felt like [due to] their presence the midwives were very careful with me and my needs.” (Mum)

“My English is so poor so I feel without my Maternity Mate there would be lots of misunderstandings between me and the professionals.  Their presence helped a lot, to ease the communication between both parties.” (Mum)

“…this time, everything [was] different. I was suffering because of my depression…It was good, it was different like lots of people in a circle. Everyone was there in one room. I was getting individual support from everyone.” (Mum)

“My Maternity Mate understood my needs and I felt like everything will be OK because she was with me.” (Mum)

"I wish I had the support of a Maternity Mate during my first pregnancy….maybe some of my problems would have been picked up." (Mum)

 

The midwives' views of Maternity Mates

“I have referred quite a few of my clients to Maternity Mates and they have all reported fantastic experiences!   One lady particularly who I saw this week told me that she felt empowered and confident about her pregnancy and birth as a result of the involvement of her Maternity Mate, and this has had a really positive impact on other aspects of her life as well.” (Midwife)

“I even took some leaflets and gave them out to my colleagues as well; I think it's fantastic, especially for women who don't speak English.” (Midwife)

“With a [professional] doula, they tend to cross boundaries, they don't know the limits…and they tend to interfere with your clinical decision.  In the Maternity Mate’s case, they knew their role, they knew what their duties were, to support the women.” (Midwife)

“I would love there to be more Maternity Mates at Newham as we have many women who have very limited knowledge of what will happen in labour and also have difficulties in communicating, as their first language is not English.” (Midwife)

"The Maternity Mates knew their role and what their duties were to support women, which they carried out excellently."  (Midwife)

 

What volunteers say about being a Maternity Mate

"It was a very special experience for me being a Maternity Mate - it was a learning curve, it was positive and exciting.  I have used it as a stepping stone and as a tool for my self-education." (Maternity Mate)

"I saw being a Maternity Mate as a professional job with clear boundaries."  (Maternity Mate)

"I felt privileged, honoured and anxious because I had the skills to help the mum and the thought of making a difference made me feel good."  (Maternity Mate)

"We get an enormous response to our open days to recruit Maternity Mates - we had 140 women responding to one advert.  This is because local women have heard about the quality of the training and many wish to pursue a career in midwifery."  (Jasmin Begum - Project Manager, Maternity Mates)

 

Our funder's view of Maternity Mates

"WHFS provide an excellent, comprehensive support system to women through the Maternity Mates service and THCCG will work closely with them to ensure more and more women access support through a Maternity Mate."  Catherine Platt, Commissioning Lead for Maternity Services at Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (THCCG)

 

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Jasmin Begum - Programme Manager
T:  07960 327 760  /  020 7377 9640
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Lepa Rahman - Project Co-ordinator (Newham)
T:  07960 328 198  /  020 7377 9645
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Rima Begum - Project Co-ordinator (Tower Hamlets)
T:  07496 764 881  /  020 7377 9645
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Asmat Syed - Project Co-ordinator (Waltham Forest)
T:  020 7377 8725
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Maternity Mates is the registered trademark of WHFS (Women's Health & Family Services)