When British mom Sian Wylie moved to New York, she didn’t realize how hard it would be to find a midwife for her second pregnancy. Because of her struggle finding one, she she wrote a blog post about it–in the post, she also thanked the midwife who delivered her first baby in London.
Her post sheds light on how women’s healthcare, particularly prenatal and natal care, is different in the U.S. than in other countries, and not necessarily for the better. Wylie wrote:
“I had no idea how much you would mean to me. To be honest I hadn’t really given you much thought at all. I just figured that I would go into labour, get to the birth centre and someone would help me deliver my baby.
What I really can’t get my head around though is that you played such a huge role in our lives, helping get our daughter safely and peacefully into my arms, but you do that all day, everyday at work.
You are an incredible woman who did the most incredible thing and I never got the opportunity to really thank you.”
A day later, her midwife, Lydia Schorah, had seen the post on Facebook. She was apparently “overwhelmed” by Wylie’s gratitude. Schorah, who is a community midwife at University College Hospitals London NHS Foundation Trust, has delivered thousands of babies over the course of four and a half years. She told Buzzfeed how moved she was:
“It’s quite often that you’ll get a card in the post, or when parents leave hospital, or sometimes even six months down the line, but Sian’s is definitely the most overwhelming thank you I’ve ever received.
I still read the post now, and her words were so lovely and it makes you realise why you do what you do, and that the little things you do really make a difference.
I treat my women all the same, but it shows they remember all the little bits you do for them, which is nice.”
In the UK, official guidelines state that a pregnant woman should wait no more than 10 weeks before getting in touch with an NHS midwife, who is a trained medical professional. This comes at no cost to the mother. In the U.S., this is not the case, as care is paid for by medical insurance–and usually women are encouraged to see gynecologists, not midwives. Wylie explained this in her post:
“I am 25 weeks pregnant with my second and after so much searching and battling with insurance companies we have only JUST found a midwife.
The main issue over here is that midwives are just really rare,” she continued. “Doctors and surgeons deliver most babies and it is all very medical.
If you want a midwife birth here you have to seek it out like we did (which is tricky) or you have to privately hire a midwife to have at your birth alongside your OB-GYN.
Sadly it seems that this over-medical attitude to birth is because everything that happens in your labour and delivery is billable.
Everyone is paying (directly or indirectly) for their care and so the more interventions, drugs, and doctors there are, the more that is billable at the end.
It wasn’t until moving over here and experiencing the USA approach to childbirth that I felt so strongly about how important our NHS midwives are.”
While using a midwife may not be for you, it’s also important for women to have options–and options that aren’t insanely expensive either. Wylie’s letter also proves the point that getting the proper attention before and after giving birth is not only necessary, but actually improves the entire experience.