I don’t know about you, but I’m in shock!
Earlier this week I read something that took me completely by surprise. I had already written another blog post for this week but I’ve been unable to get this other thing off my mind. So, as with most weeks, come Friday, my topic to post about has completely changed from what I’d written earlier this week.
What has got me so riled up?
Reading Erin’s post earlier this week “let’s talk about 7.23” – that’s what. Did you know that many midwives in New Zealand are reporting that they’re only paid as little as $7.23 an hour! Can you believe this?! That’s less than I was paid many years ago to fill shelves in a supermarket deli. You can read her post here.
Not to discredit the hard working supermarket staff. But, when a midwife has studied for years and worked hard to get to their position, they have certainly earned a higher pay check. Not only this, they have little lives at risk and new mothers in need of their support. It’s the most terrifying and important time in a new mother & baby’s life.
Now, I’m not a mother myself and having a midwife isn’t something I’d yet given much thought to. In fact, I had assumed that when the time comes, I’ll just pick someone and all will be swell. I had never considered their pay, or their cost. Reading more into what’s happening as a result of their low pay, I’m also beginning to wonder if there will be any midwives available when I do need one. And if so, I’m assuming my options may be limited as midwives start to move to other locations, or look for work that pays better in order to support themselves and their own families. Can you blame them?
Not being a mother myself, it’s fair to say I don’t have a lot of knowledge first-hand into the value of having a midwife. So, I’m sorry but I can’t tell you from experience how important and valuable they are. What I can tell you, and what I know having been surrounded by some amazing young mothers who’ve shared their experiences with me, is that a midwife is one of the most valuable resources they had when they were pregnant with their first child.
I also had the pleasure of being present when my beautiful nephew was born. He is now nearly 8 years old, which is still a difficult thing to comprehend. The night he was born is a night I will never forget. I didn’t know what to expect, what to do, how to help or if I was of any help. The hospital staff were not overly helpful. In fact, they were some of the worst nurses I had interacted with in my time. It terrified me to think that was who was there to help a new mother bring her child into the world. So where was her midwife? Well, the hospital staff kept telling us not to call her. That she wasn’t needed yet.
They were wrong. When the midwife did show up, she was irate at the hospital staff. And rightfully so. My sister was under so much stress that night, being unfamiliar territory. She needed the support of someone who knew her well. Someone who knew her birthing plan, what she wanted or didn’t want. The midwife also, having known my sister and established a relationship with her, would have been better at explaining to her what she needed to do and why. Nevertheless, my sister, being the trooper she is, pushed through without pain killer and gave birth to the most amazing little boy.
The moment he entered the world is a moment I will never forget.
I just wish the midwife could have been there. I don’t know if it would have changed things but it certainly could have helped. I was present for the first visit with the midwife following his arrival. I recall the advice she gave my sister. I remember her being so useful, full of knowledge and experience. Never telling my sister what she MUST do, but guiding her with options she could do. She was great. She checked baby to ensure he was safe and happy. Ensured he was progressing well. And checked my sister was doing ok as a new mum.
My sister’s recollection may be different. But, combining my experience with her mid-wife and what my friends have told me from their experiences, I absolutely cannot believe that they would only receive as little as $7.23 per hour for their work. They are on call 24/7. They are highly educated and ready to help with anything and everything. They help so many families thrive and grow. Some even literally saving the lives of little ones around the world. Yet, they must struggle to support their own families on such a tiny wage. I don’t see how this can be just or fair.
So, I don’t know about you but for me, I’m in shock. It doesn’t sit well with me and as a result, I have signed the below petition to support and help midwives in New Zealand. Please, if you can spare 2 minutes of your day, and are also shocked by this information, sign the below petition.
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post or agree with the above, please like/share and comment.
You can also join in discussions in the Facebook group: Brit Army