All party parliamentary committee on maternity
On 11th July 2011 I made my way to London to represent Birthlight at the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Maternity (APPGM) at the House of Commons, with my invitation card in hand. This is the second time we have been invited to take part in this Committee! It gives me great pleasure that Birthlight can have a voice and a say among other organisations that all work towards the improvement of maternity services in the UK and that through the Committee, our collective work can have an impact on policies and decision making. I met old friends from NCT, MIDIRS, AIMS, Association of Radical Midwives, various NHS Trusts and particularly the Northampton Home Birth team (two of them Birthlight trained) who won one of the Awards. It was good to meet representatives from La Leche League I had not met before, and also to see Maggie and Phil Howell (Natal Hypnotherapy) as some of you may remember them from the 2006 conference where they were sponsors. Belinda Philips’s speech (NCT) made an opening speech about the importance of raising women’s confidence before, during and after birth. The statistics collected by the NCT show that women’s confidence was greatly improved by antenatal education (up to 80% of women’s questionnaires showed an improvement) and that this confidence was sustained post-natally, irrespective of birth experiences. Normalising Birth is high on everyone’s agenda. Amali Lokugamage was one of few obstetricians at the Meeting and her presence was noted. The message in her book ‘The Heart in the Womb’ is powerful.
As ever in these meetings so much happens through personal encounters and exchanges. It was a perfect English Summer day, the afternoon tea in the Thames gallery was delicious and the atmosphere delightful in celebration of the award winning maternity teams, but the hard work we all engage in the rest of the time was part of it and this meeting contributed to a renewed collective resolve to adapt to changing times, new constraints and different demands in order to best support women at the time of birth.