To use the word glowing would be an understatement when it came to sitting down with Katie Piper, weeks before the birth of her second baby. Looking as glamorous as ever, Katie is relaxed, calm and excited as we sit down to chat about her new role as an ambassador for the 2017 Pampers campaign #thankyoumidwife.
According to research compiled by the Royal College of Midwives, 1 in 3 of the nation’s 43,000 midwives feel undervalued and underappreciated. Despite their invaluable, tireless work, delivering little lives into the world safely, research shows that’s mums don’t say thank you enough. For every #ThankYouMidwife shared on social media Pampers will donate £1 to the Benevolent Fund of the Royal College of Midwives Trust
As Pampers aim to champion midwives across the UK, we sat down with Katie to have a chat about her own experiences, and how important it is to highlight the vital role these midwives play.
So, first things first, are you excited about baby number two?
I’m really excited, I’ve only got a couple of weeks left! This morning, we had a midwife in our suite and when she was examining me, it suddenly hit me that this was all real. I’m actually going to be holding a baby in around 21 days!
Have you thought of any baby names?
Well, what happens is, I WhatsApp names to my husband and he writes back with a laughing emoji, and I’m like - no that was a serious suggestion! So, I do the thinking, he does the laughing! We don’t know the sex, so there’s lots of options on the table!
How are you getting Belle prepared for her new baby brother or sister?
We've involved Belle from very early on and she's actually really excited too - we've talked about it in the house, and even bought books about becoming a big sister. Just today, my midwife was giving me invaluable advice about how to include your toddler in the birthing experience, so that they don’t feel left out. She said that when Belle first comes to visit me in hospital, I shouldn’t be holding the baby. The baby should be in the cot, so that Belle can walk in and we can hold the baby together. Other little tips too, like buying a present from baby to Belle, so that she has something new and exciting to open in the hospital too. It’s these little, useful things that I might have overlooked if she hadn’t told me.
How has this pregnancy been different to your first?
I think there is less anxiety this time and I’m more laid-back, but I’ve also noticed that at my antenatal appointments, I’ll still be asking questions that I probably knew the answer to when I was pregnant last time, but maybe I’ve forgotten - it’s just so nice to know that you can always go to your midwife and talk to them. Now that I’ve had a baby, I know that once you have your baby, you’re not alone. You have your community midwife and you go to your appointments after with the baby, which is quite reassuring, whether this is your first or second baby.
Let's talk about the campaign - what made you want to be an ambassador?
When I heard about the campaign, I wanted to support it immediately as I was so shocked at the statistics. 1 in 3 midwives feel undervalued and underappreciated! I thought that was really sad because they really do go above and beyond their roles. They are passionate, emotionally attached and they genuinely care. The stats really made me question myself as a mother, thinking – did I thank my midwife? Am I one of those people who made her feel underappreciated? I completely credit my midwife for helping me to breastfeed and giving me the confidence I needed.
How have your midwives been?
Even though this is my second pregnancy, there are still so many questions. It’s just so comforting to know that you can always go to your midwife and talk to them. I’ve had a lot of personal experience with medical professionals in general, where someone might do a big operation on you, and once their shift finishes, they just go home. You never see them again. But with a midwife, they are by your side for such a long period of time. With my sister, for example, her midwife’s shift ended half way through the birth, but she came back off-duty just so that she could meet the baby! I think it’s one of the few professions where someone would actually do that. It makes me think wow, this is the longest continuity of care I’ve ever experienced.
So how would use the hashtag #thankyoumidwife ?
I would saying thank you to the midwife who taught my little girl how to latch, allowing me to breastfeed for a further five months! This attention to detail was crucial and I would have been nervous without her guidance.
What’s one thing you would always go to your midwife for advice on?
My birthing plan! When you’re pregnant for the first time, you scour the internet looking for endless possibilities, but I think that’s what your midwife is there for. They can be so helpful in writing a birthing plan and always stay neutral, rather than telling you what you ‘should’ do. They support all your ideas and go on the journey with you. I made a documentary after my first baby with Channel 4, and it was all about women who made extraordinary birthing plans. One woman went to Hawaii and let dolphins deliver her baby! All the midwives in that programme were celebrating freedom of choice and that there is no right or wrong way. Your midwife is always there as your confidante, your friend, your counsellor.