NEWSFLASH: birthing a human can be a tricky business. Not only are you distracted by the what feels like 23 angry pandas doing the hokey-cokey in your uterus but you’re also putting your faith in every expert who assures you that, yes, it is possible to shove something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a grape.
There’s no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have got through either of my births without the help of an awesome midwife. It was the real life humans, there in the room with me, cheering me on like over-zealous parents at an under-3s football match that were the real heroes. I don’t use that word lightly – these women kept my children safe. As I said, heroes.
My eldest daughter wasn’t an easy birth. She was back to back; I was anxious and vomiting and tired. My husband felt powerless. I’ll never forget him shouting down the corridor, “Quick! Help! She’s gone all exorcist!” and help they did. During the 38 long hours of labour with my eldest, Billie, we were looked after by four midwives. They were wonderful, compassionate, patient people that didn’t roll their eyes or look aghast at the couple that were woefully underprepared for birth and parenthood. They held my hand, stroked my hair, looked me in the eye and promised me it would be ok. That in itself is special, but more than that, they kept me and my newborn safe. I’d never met them before or since and I’m ashamed to say that between the ‘pushing-a-human-out’ stuff and the overwhelming panic, I can’t even remember their names.
My second birth was different. I opted for a home birth and had a dedicated midwife who gave me consistent care both pre- and post-natally. Penny was wonderful. She’d been a midwife for 30 years and after a slightly dramatic birth the first time around, she was instrumental in helping me prepare for a calmer (quicker!) birth. She supported my choice to hypnobirth and in just three short hours, she delivered my second, healthy, happy baby girl. She also sorted out my breastfeeding in about 21 seconds and enabled me to breastfeed, blister free, cracked nipple free and mastitis free for 7 months. To this day, I credit Penny for empowering me to have a near-perfect newborn experience the second time around.
That all being said, how many of us actually got around to saying a heartfelt thank you to our midwives? It’s shocking and understandable, all at the same time, that 1 in 3 midwives feel undervalued and underappreciated. Shocking because these people delivered, with their own hands, your children into this world. Understandable, because amid the maelstrom of birth and the craziness of that transformation into parents, you’ll forget your own name let alone remember to take a couple of seconds to look someone other than your new baby in the eye and say, ‘Thank you.’
That’s why, this Christmas, Pampers are launching the #ThankYouMidwife campaign. It’s no surprise that 8 out 10 mums think that thanking their midwife is important but only just over half actually do say thank you. I have no doubt the other half wish they had a chance to go back and thank their midwife and now, we’re asking you all to do just that. For every post shared on Facebook (PampersUKIre) or on Twitter (Pampers_UK) with #ThankYouMidwife, Pampers will be donating £1 to the Royal College of Midwives Trust to help support those midwives in need this Christmas and beyond. Knowing the importance of the midwife in keeping your baby safe and healthy is just one of the reasons why Pampers is committed to supporting every midwife in the UK and Ireland both professionally and practically.
So, take a minute to say a huge thank you to the midwife that kept you and your baby safe from the moment that test turned positive until you birthed your child…and beyond! Post an image of you with your newborn and use the tag #ThankYouMidwife. Virtual high-fives to the midwives will go a long way to making them feel that we recognize what they do and why they do it.
This blog post was written in association with Pampers #thankyoumidwife