I’m proud to be engaged in the #MatExp (Maternity Experience) community on Twitter – a group of like-minded health professionals and parents with a shared passion for creating and seeing change for the better in our UK maternity services. It’s a stimulating and enriching community to be involved in, from both a professional and personal point of view, as someone who works closely with NHS maternity services and of course being an expectant mum for the second time!
For the last couple of weeks, those of us actively engaged in #MatExp have been participating in the #MatExp ABC. Each day we have a letter of the alphabet to prompt us to put forward relevant words about the maternity experience – choice, optimism, fear, joy, and kindness to name but a few. Today we reached the letter P and two of the suggestions that struck a chord with me were ‘Photos’ and ‘Precious Moments’ – capturing those earliest memories of life with your new little person – and it gave me the impetus to look back at some old pictures of me and Little Man from September 2010, the month he was born.
As I looked through them I was reminded how truly lucky I was to have him safe and sound in my arms, and that we were both none the worse for the ordeal we had both been through. Pre-eclampsia, nearly a week on the antenatal ward, growth restriction, induction at 37 weeks, syntocinon drips, only gas and air for pain relief, a terrifying three-hour labour from first contraction to the last, dangerously high blood pressure, stitches, four days on the postnatal ward with my skinny little 5lb 9oz miracle – then home. Exhausted, relieved, but mercifully happy – and this is why I am lucky, as so many women find themselves struggling to cope in the aftermath of a difficult experience.
These photos help me to remember those first few days of parenthood when it passed in such a blur – and help me look forward to my next birth experience to come. I’ve got a few more people rooting for me this time thanks to #MatExp!
Read more about the #MatExp campaign on the NHS Change Day website or check out the hashtag on Twitter to get involved.