Hear my voice | Natasha Senior

My son was born in 2016.  I was lucky enough to have a relatively straightforward pregnancy and hoped for a water birth.  I moved to Essex towards the end of my pregnancy and so I didn’t really experience much ante natal care in the area.  I chose to have my baby at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, rather than at the birthing unit or at home, but it was great to have those options available to me here.

My birth experience was, however, far from straightforward and my son was ultimately born via emergency c section two weeks after his due date.  My baby and I stayed in hospital for 5 days following the birth.  Although I am, of course, very lucky and grateful that we both survived, I was unfortunately left feeling let down by the advice, care and support I received during this time.  I had a lot of unanswered questions about why what happened, happened and if or how it could have been avoided or made better.

As a result of my experience, I feel strongly about improving maternity services and that is why I applied to become a Maternity Patient Partner (MPP) at Healthwatch Essex.  I feel my experience highlighted a number of areas where improvements could be made which would not only have benefitted my personal situation, but which would also benefit maternity services in general.

One of the first things we, as MPP’s, did was to share our experiences of maternity services with each other and interestingly, whilst each experience was completely different, the same areas for improvement kept coming up.  For example;

  • the need to listen to women and treat them as individuals
  • better provision of information in order for women to make informed decisions and be better prepared
  • need for better and more personal continuity of care
  • accommodate more involvement from the father / birthing partner
  • better support for breastfeeding

It is great to be part of a team of people with the same goal in mind and also to meet other local mums and to be able to get together with them to do something worthwhile.  It is also interesting to hear about maternity services from the point of view of midwives and other maternity professionals.  It is clear that they genuinely want to improve maternity services and to implement real change.

The opinions of those who have had first hand experience of using maternity services is being recognised as necessary to this process and real life accounts from those who have used maternity services really help put things into a more meaningful context.

My experience led to a difficult start for my new family but I have a happy toddler now and because of him, I have the opportunity to be a part of this project which will, hopefully, lead to improvements in maternity services and benefit others in the future.


If you would like to get involved in collecting and representing the voice of the people of Essex, view the Ambassador role profile online today or contact our Volunteer & Engagement Officer Cheryl directly for more information