By swan uk parent rep for warwickshire and blogger, Aimee Mann - aimeemannmentoring.com
This morning was a mad dash, more so than usual. I had been invited, in my other capacity as Volunteer Parent Rep for SWAN UK to meet with 20 Paediatricians, consultant and trainee level, at our local hospital. It was in fact the hospital where all three of our children were born and where we spent our time in SCBU with Freddie.
I was there to tell them about Freddie’s story and the importance of having a sense of belonging to a community who understand you, having access to good quality information and knowing that the professionals who are supporting you have somewhere to signpost you rather than telling you to go home and to wait and see what happens. This elusive support network and raft of good quality information is often very hard to come by when your child has no diagnosis to explain their problems.
SWAN UK, however, was my saviour.
I always hated public speaking and I used to be a lovely shade of beetroot even when presenting in the corporate world but as time has gone on I have learnt to love it. My worst moment ever was appearing live on one of the shopping channels, I was terrible. Ah how I laugh when I think back now. I could have taken part in The Mannequin Challenge and most likely won it.
When I first started public speaking for SWAN UK, I realised very quickly that I knew my topic inside out and that gave me the confidence to speak.
When I first arrived today and looked through the window I thought I must have looked like one of those cartoon characters whose heart is pounding out of their chest.
That feeling really only lasted about five minutes though. Once I started to tell them all about Freddie and our experience it all just started to flow. The reaction was such a positive one and I loved it.
SWAN UK made such a impact on me in my state of limbo and distress that I took on the Parent Rep role and this is one of the things, along with my other supporters such as Entrust Care Partnership, my coach, my lovely friends and family and of course Ollie which have given me the confidence to set up Aimee Mann Mentoring to really support and guide parents of children with special needs and disabilities with or without a diagnosis.