There has been many efforts recently by doulas across the country, via MVPs, letters to NHS trusts etc to change the current 2 birth partner rules (or lack thereof – more detail in the open letter linked below). Nothing seems to be making a dent and some of the responses (where there have been some) have been less than great. Of course some trusts are responding and making changes (YAY!) but not enough.  

As birthworkers, the doulas at The Birthbliss Academy actively do what we can to support the birthing rights of all women and pregnant people at all times. During the Covid-19 pandemic, restrictions of partners attending scans and appointments, as well as the time allowed into labour wards for partners and additional support staff have now come into question. Whilst valid at the start of the pandemic, they are now unnecessary and adversely affecting the health and well being of parents and their babies. There are countless stories emerging about increases in traumatic births, stillbirths, women birthing alone. And yet as many organisations, MVPs and members of the public fight for change, they are not being heard.

We have written an open letter to Professor Whitty, Matt Hancock and NHS England to explain our concerns. Together with a Change.org petition started by Holly Avis that at the time of writing has over 185,000 signatures, now is the time for action.

And so we need your help to ensure that notice and action is taken…

To ensure we create a trending “Twitter Storm” worthy of note, it is vital that as many people as possible flood social media with the message, at the same date and time, using the same hashtag. Here is the plan – please be sure to follow these simple steps:

  1. Share/forward this email to as many organisations, bloggers, journalists, influencers as you can think of (via email, private messages and private groups/forums).
  2. Add Wednesday 2nd Sept, 11am, to your diary. THIS IS GO TIME! Have your posts ready. Government reconvenes on the 1st, so this will ensure politicians are at work and listening.
  3. Create your own post on Twitter (and other channels if you use them) using the relevant meme attached to this email and include the hashtag #ButNotMaternity
  4. Tag Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson, Professor Whitty and NHS England in the post:
    • Twitter: @MattHancock @BorisJohnson @CMO_England @NHSuk
    • Instagram: @borisjohnsonuk @matthancockmp @chriswhitty_uk @nhsengland
    • Facebook: @matthancockofficial @borisjohnson @NHSEngland
    • Tag your local NHS Trust (you will need to find this yourself)
  5. Please also use the following secondary hashtags as you prefer (in addition to the main one) #LockedOutOfBirth #ProtectMyBirthBubble #BirthRightsDuringCovid #CovidBirthRights #birthblissdoulas #birthworkersunited #doulasupport #BirthRightsDuringLockdown #CovidBabies
  6. Re-tweet and share everyone’s posts across all the Social Media platforms.
  7. Repeat daily using the created meme for each day of the week (although if you prefer to, you can also use your own content and blogs etc, so long as the campaign hashtag and tags are used.)

Please consider writing to your MP about these issues. Please feel free to use the Open Letter as a guide/template. If you do write to them, take this into account:

  • They won’t respond if you CC them
  • They won’t respond if you are not in their constituency
  • They won’t respond if you do not include your address
  • It may take up to 10 days for them to read

You can find who your local MP using this link : https://members.parliament.uk/constituencies/

Please follow @Doula_Kicki to keep up to date with the progress of the campaign and for related news!

Thank you so much for joining in this campaign! Let’s all come together and make a difference!

Lots of love

Kicki, Abbi and The Birth Bliss Academy

FURTHER RESOURCES:

Please read more on the AIMS website https://www.aims.org.uk/information/item/coronavirus

Another great resource is the Birthrights website https://www.birthrights.org.uk/covid-19/ https://www.birthrights.org.uk/2020/08/20/birthrights-calls-for-easing-of-visiting-restrictions-in-maternity-services/

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