Tag Archives: Steve Reed MP

MPs back extended leave for parents of premature babies

Yesterday, Steve Reed MP introduced a bill to parliament, calling for extended parental leave for mothers and fathers of premature babies.

The bill, which has gained cross party support, is now scheduled to be debated on 16 December 2016.

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You can watch again, as Steve Reed MP introduces the #PrematurityBill here.

The campaign is beginning to get the publicity it needs!

Born too soon, mothers of premature babies spend weeks or months of their maternity leave visiting tiny and often critically ill babies in hospital. Steve said;

“Having a premature baby is one of the most traumatic experiences that any parent can go through. Instead of bringing home the healthy baby they had longed for, their tiny baby is put inside an incubator, fighting for its life, surrounded by tubes, wires and bleeping monitors. Instead of holding their baby close, these parents can only watch as their baby struggles to breathe, dependent on life support and intensive care.”

More than 110, 000 people have now signed the petition to extend leave for families of premature babies and the campaign has been receiving high profile media attention.

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Is change is possible?

YES, and the precedent has already been set. New Zealand currently offers extended leave, as well as other European countries such as Finland, Iceland and Croatia.

Will change happen?

YES!  With the support of the public and cross party parliamentary support for the bill, change can happen!

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What to do with 100,000 signatures….

….take them to Parliament of course!

 

Your voice and your story really can make a difference.

When I spoke to my local Member of Parliament Steve Reed MP last year, I invited him to visit his local neonatal unit where my second son Jack was born prematurely. He met with staff and parents on the unit and listened as I explained how my new Smallest Things campaign aimed to shine a light on the needs of families through neonatal intensive care and beyond.

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Steve Reed meets mum Rachel and baby boy Benjamin at Croydon University Hospital neonatal unit

Since then Steve Reed has gone on to host a Smallest Things event in Parliament, where mothers like Sarah Miles spoke movingly about their own experiences through NICU and of their need for longer maternity leave. He has spoken about the campaign in a Westminster Hall debate during World Prematurity month and has gained cross-party support as he now seeks to introduce a new Bill to Parliament.

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The Smallest Things World Prematurity Month Westminster Reception

On October 26th Steve Reed MP will introduce a Bill to the House of Commons proposing extended parental leave for families of premature babies!!! 

With over 100,000 signatures on our petition to extend maternity leave for mothers of permature babies Steve has a lot of support behind him; but he will also need the support of fellow MPs.

Your voice and your story really can make a difference.

Contact your own local MP now.

Share your story.

Ask them to support Steve’s Bill!

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You can find a draft letter you may like to use to contact your MP here – letter-to-my-local-mp

How to find my local MP – www.writetothem.com

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Smallest Things in 2015!

As we begin to set out our plans for 2016, make our New Year resolutions and look forward to what this year will bring, we reflect for a moment on what a year 2015 has been!

2015

Launched in June, our petition to extend statuary maternity leave has reached more than 11,000 signatures and has received national press coverage both in the papers and on the radio!

Our Facebook page has continued to be a hub for all things Smallest Things, with over three and a half thousand supporters reaching a wide audience every day – lets keep reaching thousands more in 2016!

On the blog, ‘Dads Do NICU’ was one of my personal favourites; highlighting the journeys taken by fathers and bringing to the foreground their caring role in NICU. Kangaroo cuddles and skin-to-skin with dads are some of my favourite pictures of 2015 and are worth another look!

Our most read piece, and by quite some way, continues to be ‘PTSD: The hidden cost of NICU’. If raising awareness of the lasting emotional impact of a premature birth is one of our aims, then this article is certainly helping to achieve that. Recent comments on our Facebook page, left by mothers years following premature birth, are a real eye-opener and sum up the vital need to raise awareness and the urgent need for more support for parents of premature babies. You can read their words and add your own here.

ST reception

Taking The Smallest Things to Parliament! In September Croydon North MP Steve Reed visited the Croydon University Hospital neonatal unit and is now championing the needs of premature parents in parliament. Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate for World Prematurity Day, Mr Reed raised The Smallest Things campaign to extend paid parental leave and highlight our 5 reasons why this change is needed. We were delighted when Health Minister Ben Gummer MP stated he would look into this very issue. Mr Reed also hosted a Smallest Things reception in Parliament and it was a great pleasure to meet many of you there. Mothers Ije and Sarah spoke movingly about their own experiences of premature birth and their ability to return to work once they were home. Sarah spoke moving about her twin girls Eva and Charlotte and their story remains a powerful reminder of why this campaign is so important.

The end of 2015 has ended on a high! With great surprise I was humbled to find myself alongside other amazing women long listed for the 2016 Tommy’s Baby Charity Mums Voice of the Year Award. It is a fantastic recognition of what The Smallest Things aims to do; giving parents a voice, an opportunity to share our experiences and to say loudly that the NICU journey does not end at the NICU door.

Saving perhaps the best til last! On the 30th December we had an opportunity to speak to millions of Radio 5 Live listeners as Sarah spoke about her beautiful daughters Eva and Charlotte and I explained the need to give families of babies born too soon more time through extended parental leave.

With your help and support we have made The Smallest Things matter in 2015 – thank you!

Catriona

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Sarah Miles and Catriona Ogilvy Radio 5 Live