On Dec 6 representatives from The Smallest Things, Catriona Ogilvy and Sarah Miles, together with Bliss CEO Caroline Davey and MP Steve Reed met with Business Minister Margot James MP. Responsible, amongst other things, for parental leave, Ms James discussed our campaign to extend maternity and paternity leave for families affected by premature birth.
The minister congratulated Steve on bringing such an important issue before MPs and for raising awareness of the #NotMatLeave campaign. We shared our stories, describing the hidden world of neonatal intensive care and the specific needs of premature babies and their families. We spoke about the emotional impact, with 2 in 5 mothers experiencing mental health difficulties following NICU, as well as the financial pressures we know are placed upon families during this traumatic time. We discussed the need for mothers and their babies to have the vital time to bond following discharge home from hospital; time for babies to develop, to grow and to be ready for the next stage in childhood development. And spoke about the mums who have no option but to leave the work force.
Speaking after the event, Smallest Things founder Catriona Ogilvy said, “Ms James spent a considerable amount of time talking, listening and taking a genuine interest in our campaign. It is only the first step towards making a change, but meeting with the Minister was a necessary and important step and we are thankful to Ms James and her staff for taking the time to meet with us.”
Ms James MP engaged with our stories, eager for more information. She told us that we had a compelling argument for the approximately 30,000 babies born too soon in the UK each year and although it is far too soon for us to be hopeful, the meeting was extremely positive!
We look forward to hearing back from the Minister in the New Year….
You can still sign the petition, calling upon the Government to Extend Maternity Leave for Mothers of Premature Babies!
You may like – Longer Mat Leave for Preemie Mums: 5 Reasons Why!