“My POW was there for me” – Rumbidzai’s story

Those of you who came to our Gala a couple of weeks ago, and listened to our clients’ stories, might remember Rumbidzai.

Rumbidzai had planned to speak at the Gala about the support she received from her Pregnancy Outreach Worker, Jahanara. But at the crucial moment, baby Sylvia decided that she didn’t want mum taking the limelight from her, and demanded a feed!

So to make up for it, we videoed Rumby on the night to hear what she had planned to say. You can watch the video below, but first, here’s a bit of background.

Rumby’s story


When Rumbidzai was first referred to the Pregnancy Outreach Workers Service (POWS) she was living in a hostel that isn’t suitable for pregnant women. As soon as she found out she was pregnant, she’d had to begin the process of moving out and looking for somewhere else to live with some urgency.

With help from her key support worker at the hostel, Rumbidzai was already bidding on properties and getting help with benefit claims. However, she was keen to have some extra support with the pregnancy – which is where Jahanara came in.

Jahanara said, “Rumbidzai has a good head on her shoulders, and she’s very focused, but she was anxious to get everything right for her baby, especially given her circumstances – which is why she’d been referred to POWS.

Pregnancy Outreach Worker Jahanara
Pregnancy Outreach Worker Jahanara
“Usually a lot of our support work involves helping women to make sure they’re getting everything they’re entitled to and showing them how to access further support, but Rumby was already on top of that, which was great. She is very independent.

“But becoming a first time mother when you’re young and single is a lot for anyone to take on. Rumby was especially keen to learn more about things like breastfeeding and bathing the baby, so that’s where we began.”

As a young first time mother Rumbidzai was very positive, but Jahanara could see she was anxious. She needed reassurance and, without any family or friends around, Jahanara was concerned about the lack of a support network.

So as well as giving Rumbidzai some practical one-on-one demonstrations of things like breastfeeding and bathing, and showing her videos and websites that she could look at on her own, Jahanara helped her to chase up important information and attend appointments (Jahanara says, “she made good use of my phone!”) and also referred her to a Gateway Volunteer Befriender who could offer extra time and emotional support.

Health and Wellbeing Dept Manager Jane with baby Sylvia at the Gala
Health and Wellbeing Dept Manager Jane with baby Sylvia at the Gala
Jahanara was also able to give Rumby a moses basket and other items from Gateway’s own baby bank, and put her in touch with Narthex to get vouchers for baby food.

Once Rumbidzai had moved into a flat, Jahanara helped to co-ordinate help from Homestart, Nathex, and Birmingham City Mission to get the property ready for baby.

After the POW support ended, things didn’t quite go according to plan, as Rumby explains in the video. But, as you’ll hear, she was able to access the service a second time – and Jahanara was there to support her again.