Peer support network
What is peer support?
Peer support is when our volunteers use their own shared experiences to help others.
At Pregnancy Sickness Support we want to create a service where you feel accepted and understood. We use our amazing volunteer network who have all suffered with HG or severe pregnancy sickness, to be able to offer this much needed service to people who are currently suffering. How much support you receive can vary depending on what feels right for you at different times. You can access this service at any point in your pregnancy. Simply complete the form at the bottom of this page. You may need someone to help you go through the information on this page but it is important you understand the terms and conditions.
One of the toughest aspects of pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum is the isolation and feelings of not being understood.
One of our services users said:
“I never realised how awful you can feel with hyperemesis. People around you, however supportive they are, can never quite understand. So, it was a comfort to be able to speak to a volunteer about how I was feeling during the worst times.”
Am I eligible for peer support?
While we offer this service to as many people as possible there may be occasions where applicants are not eligible for this service. This could be for a variety of reasons; for example, your needs are beyond our remit and knowledge base, however we will always refer you to more appropriate organisations. Peer support is also only availble for UK residents.
Types of peer support
1-2-1 peer support - support with 1 volunteer. You will have ongoing emotional support via text, email, or WhatsApp. If screen time is a trigger for you, we can organise support via phone calls.
Group support – a group chat can sometimes be more beneficial if you have more complex needs, or you may be matched with a mentored volunteer who is training.
We have volunteer peer supporters from a variety of backgrounds (different ethnicities, religions, sexualities, gender identities, abilities, classes, regions, nationalities, job roles etc.) and with a range of personal experiences (such as fertility treatment, miscarriage, termination, breastfeeding through HG, service families etc.). If you wish to be matched with someone with a similar experience or background to you then do tell us and we will always aim to match you with the most appropriate person.
All volunteers go through a robust application process, which includes a telephone interview and professional references as well as online training and are supported closely by the team at PSS-HQ.
What can you expect from us?
- A confidential and safe service
- Regular contact reducing isolation and fear of this debilitating condition. The level of support will be determined by you in conjunction with your volunteer peer supporter/s
- Support can be provided via telephone, text, WhatsApp, or email. On occasions, people have also met their volunteer peer supporter face to face if they are local to them
- If you are unable to build a rapport with your volunteer peer supporter/s, please let us know and we will do our utmost to offer you another volunteer peer supporter
Please allow 5 working days from your submission of the form below for your peer support to commence. If you have not spoken to the support team this could be longer depending how quickly you respond to their request for further information.
Model of support
Our model of support is based around the principles of empowerment.
- To listen and believe - and give you space to tell your own story
- To treat you as an equal and with respect
- Not to make decisions for you, although, we can help you to work out what your options are
- To give you information where it is appropriate regarding coping strategies, treatments, employment, childcare, planning for future pregnancies but NOT advice
- To encourage you to take control over whatever aspects of your life you can
- To give you space where you are accepted and where you feel you have a right to be
- To focus on you as an individual
Could peer support help me?
Lots of people find peer support improves their wellbeing and helps them to advocate for themselves. It can help you to be more open about what you are experiencing and reassure you that you are not alone. By speaking with someone who has previously experienced the condition it can introduce you to ideas and approaches that other people have found helpful.
Peer support helps you share your feelings and emotions. It's common to feel nervous or worried about what people will say, and it's likely that your peers will understand. They might feel the same way too and it's up to you how much you share.
Although many people find peer support helpful, not everyone does. You might find that it does not suit you or does not meet your needs. There might also be times when other people's experiences feel unhelpful or triggering for you.
If it is not the right thing for you now, you should still be able to access it in the future if you want to. How much communication you and your peer supporter have is completely up to you. Some people find having daily conversations is helpful however some people prefer to exchange messages once or twice a week, this can be discussed with your volunteer.
Peer support does not replace other talking therapies or treatments. To learn more about HG specific counselling service click here.
How do I end my peer support?
While we understand you may not be well enough to message your peer supporter regularly, there does need to be some form of communication every month for you to continue to have access to this service. If at any time you wish to end your 1-2-1 peer support email our Peer Support Coordinator. You can end or restart your peer support at any time.
What if I have a complaint?
If you feel that the support you have received does not meet with the description we have given, or you have a complaint, you can email our Peer Support Coordinator with any concerns.