This midwife's letter of apology to expectant mums is heartbreaking 5 years ago

This midwife's letter of apology to expectant mums is heartbreaking

This gives us even more respect for hospital staff.

Nurses and midwives are real-life superheroes, but the conditions they have to work under can often be tough.

An anonymous midwife in the UK has written a heartfelt letter to expectant and new mums, apologising for the shortcomings in the NHS, Britain's public healthcare system.

Entitled 'Sorry: A Midwife Speaks', the letter, shared on blog The Birth Hub, highlights how tough conditions can be.

"I’m sorry that my clinic was running over because we don’t have enough staff, and that you had to wait in a hot, stuffy room with a rumbling stomach or worry about how you were going to get to nursery pick-up on time...

"I’m sorry that I see so many women on each shift, I sometimes forget your name and end up referring to your bed number. I swore I would never reduce women to numbers when I was a student...

"I’m sorry that I rarely have enough time to sit with you and help you learn how to breastfeed. Instead, I offer advice and support in 2-minute snippets, or send in a maternity assistant...

"I’m sorry that you are always kept waiting….waiting for the midwife or doctor to see you, for the baby to be born, for the pool to fill, for the anaesthetist to come, for the bed to be cleaned, for your discharge paperwork…for some sense of individuality and control in this whole process...

"I’m sorry that I wasn’t my usual patient, smiling self when you were needing lots of help, or wanted to ask lots of questions… sometimes I am so exhausted that I am unable to mask my tiredness, so hungry that I can no longer concentrate, or so sad because I’m missing my own children."

The author of the letter assured mums that midwives do care about their patients and lamented the fact the they were "often at odds."

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"'The system' has created a wall between us, preventing us from truly knowing one another’s lives and joy and struggles."

The UK's health system has been badly hit by staffing shortages in recent years.

Brexit and poor funding mean that the number of nurses from abroad looking to work for the NHS is plummeting, while the BBC reported earlier this year that more nurses and midwives are leaving the profession than joining it.

Meanwhile, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation put off going on strike earlier this year after brokering a short-term deal with the government.

Among Irish nurses' grievances were low staffing numbers and pay.