12th August 2020
A lovely Voices blog by mum, Leanne Howlett, sharing her wonderful supportive experience of her health visitor, Holly Phelan from the Kingsway Health Visiting Team in Leamington Spa. It’s great to share case studies like this from parents which are are invaluable when people don’t understand what health visitors do.
The decision to have a second child was not an easy decision for me to make.
The birth of my son 4 years ago led to me experiencing birth trauma and severe postnatal depression and it was almost 3 years before I felt able to put myself through the anxiety of another pregnancy and birth. Half way through my second pregnancy I started to struggle to control my anxiety surrounding the birth and decided to speak to my health visitor for extra support. I called to be told that my health visitor was no longer there and I was instead going to be allocated a new one. I immediately panicked as my previous health visitor already knew my background. However, I needn’t have worried at all. Holly has been an incredible support to our family over the last year.
She helped me to learn to manage my eldest son’s tricky behaviour when I was heavily pregnant, checking in regularly before the birth to see how I was coping with my anxiety. After the birth she called within days of the birth (as soon as she heard) to see how it went and to arrange to come and see me. She visited regularly postnatally to see how I was managing and to weigh my little girl when I was overly anxious about her weight to put my mind at rest. She would check in with me and supported me when I experienced postnatal anxiety and depression.
It was so nice to feel like I had someone there for me every step of the way. Other professionals were great but they were only part of my journey. Holly was there for me throughout. No matter how bad things felt I knew I could pick up the phone to her and she would be there to support me through it. She must have a huge caseload of families to look after but nothing is ever too much trouble for her and she always makes time to talk. I’ve lost count of the number of times she has phoned me to check in or come back to me long after her working day must have finished.
I run a peer support group for local parents experiencing perinatal mental illness and I always signpost our mums to their local health visitor for support. I honestly don’t know where I would be without Holly and I can’t thank her enough!