The Improving me programme board are keen to capture insight into maternity experience across a diverse population. The quotes below are a small sample which have been shared so far.
‘I was told I was high risk as I was 39, yet nobody explained why, what the risk factors were, I was left baffled as I was healthier and fitter than women half my age’.
‘When my wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in pregnancy, she was provided with great advice and we accessed the services of a dietician and as a family became the healthiest we had ever been.’
‘the whole process of pregnancy is confusing, services are disjointed, you rarely see the same person twice and feel like a nuisance if you ask questions and seek out advice….I just resorted to the internet in the end.’
‘I was deemed low risk, in spite of providing evidence of family history, my pregnancy developed problems and my baby died as a result.’
‘My daughter developed cancer during her pregnancy and subsequently died, nobody took her symptoms serious enough and she saw a different person every time so they could not see how she was deteriorating before their eyes’.
‘Positive pregnancy should start with positive language and encouragement and women should be empowered to be involved in all aspects of making decisions about their care.’
‘Dads are forgotten about and largely ignored, yet we are witnessing our loved ones in serious pain and in some cases near death experiences, if I had witnessed any other tragedy I would be offered support, yet you are just told how lucky you are and left to get on with it.’
‘My homebirth was fantastic, I was relaxed, my husband was involved throughout, my midwife was calm and unobtrusive and I was having a cuppa and breastfeeding within the hour.’
‘My consultant and midwives were incredible, they put me at ease throughout my caesarean and made the whole experience as natural and special as they could.’
‘I needed complex surgery to try and save my baby in the womb, I was put on a ward with other mums with low-risk pregnancies and some who had even had their babies. Not knowing if my baby would make it was stressful enough but this made it so much harder.’
‘When I went to see my sister just after she gave birth she told me she had failed to have a natural birth and was failing to breast feed…..I could tell already that she was wracked with guilt that her birth plan had not been achieved and I was worried about her mental health – why do we use such negative language and set such high expectations when every woman and pregnancy can be different?’
‘The minute I gave birth my premature baby was whisked off to SCBU and from that point onwards it was all about baby (which obviously was our primary focus too), I was put on a ward with women and their babies and just left to fend for myself. Often it is the compassion of the neonatal nurses who save you from the brink and go above and beyond their roles to look after Mums as well as their Babies. There needs to be better care put in place for women and parents of premature babies as often they are recovering from complications themselves and going through emotional trauma too.’
‘Bereavement support is patchy and inconsistent, the room we were offered to spend time with our baby when she died, was stark, cold and clinical even though this was a dedicated room for bereaved families’.
‘I am part of the local maternity services liaison committee. I was encouraged to join by the hospital and have now put my experiences to good use to make things better for other women and their families. I feel proud of my achievements, I have met other mums and it has helped my mental health too.’
‘I feel so proud of those who work in maternity services, they are our unsung heroes, they bring life into this world and save lives on a daily basis, yet are often not thanked enough….so THANK YOU!
‘Perinatal mental illness needs to be talked about more and all women should be aware that this can hit them at any point in their pregnancy and following birth and a list of services provided to them. My GP had no idea what was out there and I am still suffering from severe PND now as a result and have struggled to bond with my beautiful baby….it just breaks my heart.’