I deserted the children last night, leaving them in the capable hands of a family friend, and drove to Birmingham. It was a wrench: I'm not used to being away from Harry and Emily, and I didn't want to go. They didn't hugely want me to either. But go I did.
The Sixth National Conference on Current Issues in Midwifery organised by the British Journal of Midwifery asked me ages ago to talk about 'The reality of maternal mortality: a father's perspective'.
I'd been dreading delivering the short speech - how would they react? Would I falter, would my mouth dry up?
When I started I was nervous, and midway through I started to think I was losing them - there was rustling and shifting in seats. That made me really nervous.
Then I realised - it was tears and tissues. Jessica was touching them, Jessica was making a difference.
Afterwards, there were thanks, invitations to do it again elsewhere, write for the Journal, and so many hugs. What had I been worried about?
I've come away feeling like I've made a roomful of friends. Would I do it again? Yes, most certainly. For as long as I can reach someone who hasn't heard Jessica's story. For as long as Jessica can make a difference.
For all the women like her.
Following a few requests and my off-blog correspondence with dovegreyreader, the text of the speech is reproduced here:
The reality of maternal mortality: a father’s perspective