Reasons to be Cheerful – Childbirth on the NHS

It’s miserable old Thursday again so, as I enjoyed sharing my reasons to be cheerful last week, I’m going to do it again!
last week’s (in truth every week’s) reason number 1 was my wonderful, happy, healthy child, but she didn’t come into this world easily. Ours could have been a very different story. That is wasn’t is something I will always always be thankful for:

Reason 1: We are alive.
It’s seems rather melodramatic to say that, typing on my iPad in 21st century London, of course I am alive, it’s exactly what you’d expect. But in another time or place, my only experience of motherhood, and E’s only experience of life would have been a long, painful and exhausting death. Not very cheerful that, except of course it didn’t happen. I had a very long labour, all manner of interventions that I hadn’t wanted, and in the end I lay shaking on the operating table as the surgeons performed the C-section I’d assumed would never happen to me. But I lived, E lived and there was never any real concern that we wouldn’t. It was a truly hideous experience, but thank heavens that I live in 21st century London and that that surgical team were there when I needed them. In The london of 100 years ago I would probably have died. Today, in many parts of the world, I certainly would.

Not the best photo I’ve ever had of myself!

My experiences with the NHS were very far from perfect, but I got treatment many women wouldn’t even imagine possible. Here is a startling fact I’ve used before on this blog – a girl in southern Sudan is More likely to die in childbirth than to finish primary school. I am so lucky.

2- It is getting better
It’s not all depressing news outside the western world either, things are improving. In China newborn deaths have halved as access to hospitals and professional health care has increased, even in Afganistan dubbed the worst place on in the world to give birth, there are signs of slow change. There is still a long way to go but organisations such as the White Ribbon Alliance are championing this issue on a global scale and often a quick antenatal check by trained local midwife, or a cheap drug is all that is needed to save a mother and her baby. Globally the death rate is still huge, countries are run by male politicians and these “women’s issues” are thought unimportant or even unclean and shameful, but the same was true in Britain at the end of the 19th century. It’s changed here, it can change everywhere.

3 – and finally – We have doors!
Utterly frivolous in comparison, but my new doors make me very very cheerful!

We’ve been in this house for 18 months and up to now our interior doors haven’t matched, fitted the frames or shut properly. Some had holes in and several (including the bathroom) were see-through! Then yesterday the magic fairy (Gerry the carpenter) paid us a visit and although they still need painting I can now shower in privacy.





3 responses to “Reasons to be Cheerful – Childbirth on the NHS”

  1. Makes me very grateful that although I don't have the NHS here for my 2nd pregnancy the Cypriot health service is brilliant and it could be so so much worse.

    Oh, and I have doors too – we have lots to be thankful for 🙂


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