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Shirley's Story

Sharon and Denis had recently immigrated to Australia from Canada where they were both raised. Denis had been transferred to Maitland in the Hunter Valley for his work. Sharon is in her mid thirties and has a Vietnamese background, while Denis has Thai/Chinese origins. The couple have a two year old son and at the time of referral they were expecting a new baby within three weeks.

Being new to the area (and the country) meant that they had no support networks at all and knew nothing of the community services available to them. They were anxious and feeling very isolated and lonely. Sharon was also feeling very home sick and missed her family and friends.

Sharon’s sense of isolation was compounded by the long hours that Denis worked – up to 10 hours a day. Getting out of the house was difficult for Sharon as Denis took the car to work each day. At thirty-seven weeks pregnant Sharon was frightened of being left alone and a back injury was making bending very difficult for her. When their first child was 9 months old, Sharon was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression which was causing some anxiety. One of the things that really concerned Sharon was how she is going to share herself with 2 children once the new baby was born. She had no one to talk to about this.

My job as a Home-Start volunteer was to be a general support and be company for Sharon, to help with the new baby and to play and interact with the toddler.  I loved watching over the new baby so that Sharon could have one on one time with their 2 year old.  I was also able to transport Sharon and the two children to shops and appointments.

The family has just bought their own home in Newcastle and have moved in. 

I have been visiting for 2-3 hours/week for 8 months.