Do we need an omnipresent midwife or are we just making a fuss about motherhood.
- Credit: PA
Call the Midwife represents an ideal world where the midwife is always there: always supportive and keen to do whatever she can to help, but this week a new survey has revealed two of three new mum’s feel they were under supported.
Here Liz Nice looks at the national midwife shortage and asks whether we could all benefit from the service offered by the nuns and midwives from Nonnatus House.
Home births are fine, hospital is only there if there is a complication, such as the sickle cell anaemia story we saw in last week’s episode, and Dr Turner can always be called upon as well if things go awry.
There are clinics regularly where babies are weighed and advice is dispensed and all around are happy, smiling mothers with their apple-cheeked little chubsters punching the air with joy.
But that was back then.
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Nowadays, an omnipresent midwife is becoming as rare as hen’s teeth and, according to a survey by Private Midwives, mothers are feeling the lack.
Of course, as a private midwives provider, Private Midwives are hardly going to say we don’t need more midwives.
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But there is a national shortage and it is concerning to hear that from a survey of 300 women, two out of three mums felt under supported during their pregnancy, while over half of mothers are consulting the internet for help because it is not forthcoming elsewhere.
The Internet is no substitute for someone reassuring you in person over the worries (and piles) that are keeping you awake half the night, or actually showing you how to breastfeed – another stick used to beat new mothers if, for whatever reason, they struggle to get their babies to latch on.
My personal experience when I had my babies 12 and nine years ago was that I rarely saw the same midwife twice and didn’t know any of the several midwives who delivered my babies from Adam.
It was my other half who helped me persevere with breast-feeding and we got there in the end, though neither of us had much of a clue.
But this is not to say I had a bad experience. I was an older mother, desperate for a baby, and reasonably chilled about the whole thing, thanks as well to having an un-alarmist and supportive mother who made pregnancy and childcare an adventure to be embraced, rather than a list of worries and fears to be overcome.
In some ways, we do make an awful fuss about motherhood.
For most of us, it’s the most natural thing in the world, as long as we pay no heed to the NCT Nazis who go on about pain-free childbirth and organic baby food and the need to be an endlessly overflowing milk cow.
But any woman would benefit from the Call the Midwife experience, if only it were still available, because it celebrates motherhood and women and the greatest achievement any of us will ever have.
Sadly, that world is now lost to us though, which is why we all like watching it on the telly so much.