Having been friends for 8 years, we were delighted to find out that we were both expecting our first babies at the same time… and both having girls! We both found pregnancy a mixed bag of emotions; from moments of feeling overwhelmed and anxious, to excitement and impatience, it was a total rollercoaster. After all, we were going to be responsible for tiny humans!
We each had our fair share of health issues during pregnancy, with one of us suffering severe sickness on a daily basis and the other being in intense pain with sciatica but this didn’t take away from the thrill and anticipation that our babies would soon be joining us. With all the ups and downs that the (almost) 10 months can bring, our friendship and support to each other was invaluable. We also found that accessing groups such as hypnobirthing, pregnancy yoga and breastfeeding were hugely beneficial so that we felt prepared as well as supported by like-minded mamas. This cocktail of support, along with each other, has got us through the early days of cluster feeding, the tough nights of sleep deprivation and the moments of overwhelming emotion that come with motherhood.
Although we both had relatively straight forward births, we do feel as though there is a lot of room for improvement with Maternity Services, particularly the aftercare, which is why we jumped at the chance to become Maternity Patient Partners (MPPs). We want to use our own experiences to provide feedback and have a positive impact on other birthing mothers and local services. In addition to this, we also wanted to take on a new project which would nicely compliment “mum life” whilst on maternity leave and feel this is giving us the challenge we craved.
So far, we have participated in some really enjoyable tasks as MPPs, including: the ‘15 Steps for Maternity’ where we visited Southend Hospital to see the wards and work with midwives to improve what first impressions women might have of the service; feedback on the AmniSure ROM Testing Leaflet which was being created to help women understand the need to test for amniotic fluid during pregnancy as well as writing our own birth stories. We also have some interesting activities ahead including Personalised Care Planning Workshops and having input in the curriculum planning at Anglia Ruskin University.
Our decision to become MPPs has so far been a great one and we are excited for the next steps and to see what changes our contributions bring.