During my recent pregnancy I got talking with other expectant mums, as you do. Through these conversations I realised that not one of us was having the same experience when it came to the care we were receiving from our midwives or the choices we had been offered about where we had our baby. Of course, when it comes to birth, no two are the same, I’ve had three babies and each birth was totally different, but it struck me that whilst every birth will be different, surely every mum-to-be should be offered the same level of care and the same choices.
It didn’t take much research to see why we were all having such different experiences. Midwives in so many parts of the country are stretched to their limits, despite successive governments promising to make midwifery care more ‘mum-centric’. And there is of course more to it than that, different cities, counties, regions simply take different approaches to birth and when the pressure is on to deliver babies safely, many NHS Trusts seem to end up looking at things from the point of view of ‘how do we do this efficiently” rather than from the point of view of “how do we make this the best possible experience for every mum”.
Through my conversations with midwives Brenda van der Kooy (Independent Midwives UK) and Sarah Montagu (Association of Radical Midwives) I discovered that in New Zealand, back in the ‘90’s, mums and midwives came together to put pressure on the Government and radically changed maternity care. In this country successive Governments have been making the right noises for years and very recently Andrew Lansley, Secretary of State for Health pledged to ensure every mum-to-be would get their own ‘named midwife’. But past history has shown us that change is unlikely to take place if the Government aren’t pressured from all angles, not just by the midwives but by mums too.
That’s why I and some other mums have set up The Birth I Want – to ensure that the Government makes midwifery care and birth the best experience it can be, for every mum. We hope you’ll join us!