Being a mum has been in the public eye recently, especially following Mother’s Day this weekend and the National Maternity Review, which was published a couple of weeks ago by NHS England. With all of this in mind, I started to think about all of the things that my own mum has taught me, such as; the importance of wearing layers in cold weather, a love of food and the English language. She also brought me up with the belief that you should allow your children the freedom to breathe and make their own mistakes. To be slightly more profound, she used to say: ‘Give your children wings and they will fly home’. When reflecting on my own upbringing, I realise that these are the sort of things I would like to pass onto my own children. (Mum, if you’re reading this, please don’t panic, I don’t plan on having a baby any time soon).
Mother’s Day, which falls on different days across the world, has been commercialised to such a large extent that even its U.S. founder, Anna Jarvis, became an opponent of what the day had become. Although we celebrate Mother’s day (Mothering Sunday) on a different day in the UK, we celebrate it in the same commercial way. Despite some people’s disappointment surrounding the commercialisation, it is important that we treat our mums in recognition of everything they do. However, treating our mums shouldn’t be restricted to just once a year, as motherhood is clearly a lifelong commitment.
I have to admit, attempting to juggle family life and a career is a daunting prospect, but it’s not what frightens me the most. What scares me is actually giving birth. Less than two years ago, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence updated their guidance urging more women to opt for home births, especially if they had already had one child and their pregnancy appeared straightforward. When my mum was pregnant with me (her second child) her pregnancy appeared routine and, given her previous history, there was no reason to fear complications. However, I was born blue, with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. I somehow don’t think my mum would have felt better if all of this had happened in our own home.
The NHS saves around £600 for every woman that gives birth at home. As home births are cost effective, they will naturally be encouraged. However, there is more to pregnancy and motherhood than the location that you give birth. Just two weeks ago, NHS England published its National Maternity Review, outlining the recommendations for how maternity services should change over the next five years.
The crux of the report states that services in England should become safer, more personalised, kinder, professional and more family-friendly. What stood out to me about this review was the focus on personalised care. The notion of providing expectant mothers and their families with their own personalised care plans and control over a maternity budget is definitely a step in the right direction. Here at Aurora, we recognise that the patient is a powerful force in the demand for their own healthcare. We need to start framing mothers-to-be as experts and leaders in their own healthcare, to ensure that they have a genuine choice, informed by unbiased information. But where do we get hold of this unbiased information and what advice should women be looking to seek? We would love to hear any useful hints and tips from mothers/expectant mothers out there – please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
To read more about the full recommendations of the maternity review, you can access the full report here. You can also read Aurora’s Access All Areas paper, ‘Creating opportunities for improving patients’ access to medicines’, which is available for download here.
Laura Bailey is a Senior Account Executive at Aurora. She is a cat enthusiast, with a passion for creative writing, music (playing and listening) and all things food related.