Alvina's story: In a new country, with a new baby, in lockdown and alone Having fled her home country for safety, Alvina's life turned further upside down when she gave birth to a premature baby girl just as the nation went into lockdown. As a first time mum, with no support network or regular contact with others, Alvina's isolation was crippling. Now, thanks to Home-Start support and her volunteer Lauren she and her little one are thriving. This is her story: “I came to Glasgow in September 2019 had to leave my home country, arriving in a new place country homeless, pregnant and alone with zero support network. It was the most difficult, stressful and nervous time I've ever experienced. Before I left the country, I was studying and lived in nice home and saw my family and friends regularly. To have your life turned upside down overnight is terrifying, you don't think it will happen to you but it can, and it does happen. I felt so lost, so desperate. I gave birth alone, welcoming my baby girl two months early weighing three pounds. She was so early she needed to be in an incubator for weeks. I was struggling. Isolated "I felt isolated in Glasgow and was having a difficult time following an equally traumatic birth, coupled with mental health challenges. I felt lost, frightened and so alone. I was a first-time mum with a tiny baby. As my baby grew, I wasn’t sure when I was supposed to start weaning her. I needed support to know I was doing everything right. I attended a parent group at Café Stork in March 2020, just two weeks before the lockdown. They spoke to me about further support and offered to pass on my details for one to one volunteer support with Home-Start Glasgow North. Then the first lockdown happened and everything changed again. Everything I would do with my little girl was taken away from me, the library, the park. We were alone at home with no TV or computer to pass the time or see people. Home-Start "Luckily, Home-Start contacted me soon after and matched me with a volunteer, Lauren, and kindly provided me with a tablet with six months’ worth of data, which was amazing. Lauren offered help immediately over the phone, and called me regularly via video call to see how I was. Being able to see faces and communicate was everything to me. It helped me to feel less isolated and enable me to keep track of accurate Covid news which made me feel less nervous about the situation we were all in. I was also able to find information online as to how best look after my baby. Throughout the lockdown, Lauren and I would talk often, and even on the days where my anxiety and panic was overwhelming, she wouldn’t give up on me. There wasn’t a reason to get up "We’d often have video calls, sometimes I would still be in bed in the middle of the day, feeling there wasn’t a reason to get up. I maybe didn’t want to talk or be on the video so I would leave my screen off, still taking the call out of respect for Lauren’s time. I’d do more listening than responding. But by the middle of the conversation, I would actually turn the video on, and by the end be feeling so much better, offering information about myself and even laughing! The calls hugely helped in raising my mood and gave me the motivation to look after myself and my baby as well as I could. Lauren also helped me in really practical ways, sending me information on how and when to wean, ideas of what to do and play with my daughter in the house; I learnt more about child development from Home-Start, in particular how to support my daughter’s mental health. When experiencing low mood myself, I would leave my daughter in her cot where I knew she was safe. I felt I was protecting her by leaving her on her own safely in there so that she did not see her mum upset. However, I learned that it was actually better to not shut my daughter out but to reassure her and let her know that she was able to see her mom, whatever her mood, so that she felt safe emotionally as well as physically. My eyes were opened "The video calls continued until July 2020, until we were finally allowed to venture outside and meet face-to-face. Lauren introduced us to some wonderful places to visit; museums, cafes and nice walks. I love art, so Lauren took me to art galleries too. My eyes were opened to all of the free and fun things I could do and I still visit these places often with my little girl if I can afford to get there. Lauren had a great way of drawing me in and making me feel heard and important. I feel like I’ve known her forever. I am forever grateful for her support. Asylum Seeker "Being an asylum seeker, I am not allowed able to work and I am not able to return to the country I left due to the nature of why I left. However, I am an active volunteer with several councils, charities and causes as well as other migrant focused groups where I’m involved in campaigns to improve health, access to education, free bus passes, more money to live on, the right to work for asylum seekers plus the Nationality & Borders Bill. I am also the Chair of a human rights group (Restoration of Human Rights – ROHR), and a trustee at the Scottish Refugee Council (SRC) and Community Info Source (CIS) to name a few. I find helping other people in a similar situation to myself rewarding and a good way to keep my mind active. I, like many other asylum seekers, want nothing more than the opportunity to contribute positively to society, to live in dignity, so that I can rebuild my life, integrate and feel a sense of belonging, a place to call home. Migrants bring in a host of talents and capabilities. Their diversity, skills and experiences should be appreciated. I want to look forward to a better, brighter future for my daughter with no borders and no barriers. I thank the support we received from Home-Start "Since the Covid rules were relaxed, me and my daughter have been out and about, exploring and making new friends. I am still waiting to hear about my application and hope it comes through for us soon. In the meantime, I will continue to volunteer and help others where I can. As a mother and a person, I have a lot more confidence and feel so much more at peace, my daughter is a very happy child, I thank the support we received from Home-Start for this. I would never have known about Home-Start if it wasn’t for the recommendation. It was a lifeline, it’s an absolutely brilliant service and not everyone knowing about Home-Start is an injustice”. *In the interest of safety, the name of the country has not been detailed Get support Read more 'family voices'