Hand in hand

Thu 9th Oct 2008 by Ben Palmer.

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

tags: valley

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What is childbed fever?

Childbed fever is an infection of the womb in new mothers which can lead to septicaemia. If left untreated infection will cause organ failure and death - even in young, fit mothers.
What are the symptoms? »
Childbed fever: the facts »

What's the aim?

We would like every parent and every midwife and doctor to know that childbed fever is still a very real threat to a mother's life.
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Can I help? »

Who is Jessica?

Jessica Palmer was a Mum. She died in June 2004, at 34 years old, of childbed fever caused by Group A streptococcus.
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