I can't help but wonder if our Prime Minister had quite a different birth experience to the rest of us.

First of all, the day after the birth of her daughter, Neve, her midwife brought her macaroni cheese. That's lovely. I wonder if she does that for all her clients?

I'm currently on my third pregnancy – and my third midwife. Fourth actually, as I'll explain.

My first was great, but she didn't even remember my name when I ran in to her later on.


Maybe I'm a bit precious, but you go through this intense experience with someone and while childbirths may be a dime a dozen to them, I would have thought you'd remember the women you deal with.

My second midwife was great. Except for when she didn't turn up to an appointment. There was no apology or explanation. Then she just never showed for our last appointment either.

My third midwife just quit. Not me. The entire profession.

I'm very lucky her back-up could take me: she left when I was 22 weeks pregnant and due at what was once one of the busiest times of the year (October). I was not likely to find someone else to look after me in Tauranga where heavy demands on midwives and health services are now all year round.

Almost six years ago, after my first birth, it was obvious how busy the hospital staff were.

Most presses of the button for assistance were met in 20 minutes, sometimes longer. Admittedly, I was a heavy user. I was highly anxious and desperate to be assured I was feeding our girl correctly.

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Why was she still sucking her fingers like she was hungry after I fed her? Why wasn't she sleeping?

So many staff over two days and nights came and went and told me that yes, she was swallowing and yes, I was doing it right.


Yet as I was about to be discharged the lactation consultant I'd requested (having only been told by a friend to ask to see one) came in, weighed our girl and said she had lost too much weight because she hadn't had any food from me. We had to stay longer.

Nurses and midwives are currently battling for better pay and better conditions.

I'm not sure any special treatment of our Prime Minister, if there was any, will have helped their cause in any way. Her partner Clarke Gayford was allowed to stay in hospital - in a room described in one article as "normal" but "slightly more private" because it was down the end of a corridor.

I get it. She is the PM and she should have better treatment and more security than everyone else.

But this means she will have been sheltered from the awful situations on the other side of the curtain. Such as what happens in the shared mother's-only rooms at Tauranga Hospital. That's where I had my son in 2015 and witnessed a midwife yelling at a foreign woman (who didn't seem to understand English) throughout the night for not feeding her baby.

And our PM also won't have endured, as one friend did, the conversations over the curtain about a new mother's previous children having been taken off her.

My friend packed up and went home as the woman's mates arrived drinking pre-mixed bourbons.

I am just one person and these are only a few experiences. I know there are plenty with greater concerns and I am sure there are plenty who only have praise too.

Even if they were in a position to speak to her, the nurses and midwives I know are far too professional to even hint to our PM that this stuff is probably just the tip of the iceberg in New Zealand's overstretched maternity and medical services.

It's an industry desperately in need of some proper government attention. Hopefully our carers get the proper care and attention they deserve soon.