Today’s post is an anonymous contribution from a midwife working in the National Health Service (in the UK). I publish this to help her find an outlet for her feelings and to draw attention to the looming crisis that maternity services face as more midwives are leaving the profession than joining, funding is being cut and morale is at an all time low.
Mothers and midwives must stand together to protest this state of affairs before the service breaks down all together. #enough
Dear new mother or mother-to-be,
I’m sorry that my clinic was running over because we don’t have enough staff, and that you had to wait in a hot, stuffy room with a rumbling stomach or worry about how you were going to get to nursery pick-up on time.
I’m sorry that you have never met me before, and that you have seen a different midwife at each appointment. I would love to offer continuity to you but that is not how the system is set up. I don’t like it either.
I’m sorry that when you came for your induction, you hadn’t been properly informed about the myriad procedures and protocols it involves and how long it can take, or how much of a toll it can take on your energy levels, your mental wellbeing and your patience.
I’m sorry that my job sometimes requires me to hook you up to machines, strap monitors around your belly, put needles in your arms, and fingers into your most intimate places. Birth shouldn’t be like this.
I’m sorry that I see so many women on each shift, I sometimes forget your name and end up referring to your bed number. I swore I would never reduce women to numbers when I was a student.
I’m sorry that I rarely have enough time to sit with you and help you learn how to breastfeed. Instead, I offer advice and support in two-minute snippets, or send in a maternity assistant.
I’m sorry that you are always kept waiting….waiting for the midwife or doctor to see you, for the baby to be born, for the pool to fill, for the anaesthetist to come, for the bed to be cleaned, for your discharge paperwork… for some sense of individuality and control in this whole process.