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Sydney midwife shares an emotional apology to mothers giving birth during the Covid pandemic

A Sydney midwife posted a heartfelt message to new mothers whose birthing experience had been affected by the city's ongoing outbreak.

One her Facebook page Claire Devonport posted 'A Midwife's Sorry' in which she despaired at becoming a midwife 'for it to be like this'.  

Ms Devonport's 'apology' began by acknowledging that many expectant mothers were simply scared to attend appointments at hospital. 

The midwife said this photo was taken in March 2020, 'when when we thought we were COVID exhausted... We had no idea what exhausted is'

'I am sorry that you are scared to go into labour, unsure of what new rule and restriction awaits you,' she wrote.

'I am sorry that you can't hear my words of reassurance through my mask and shield, they are telling you that you are strong and that you can do this.

'I am sorry that you can't see me smile, knowing the more intense your labour becomes, the closer you are to meeting your baby.'

The midwife further apologised for her tired eyes, writing that 'walking out my door to go to work takes all of my strength'. 

'I am sorry that I may be the first person to rock your baby whilst you sleep those first precious, exhausted hours post birth. Visiting restrictions are hard.

'Please know that I never became a midwife for it to be like this. It is the very anthesis of all that we as midwives believe in.'

Covid-related restrictions in maternity wards in Sydney hospitals vary between facilities, but most restrict support persons during labour and visitors after the baby is born

Accompanying the post was a photo of Ms Devonport she said was taken in March last year 'when we thought we were Covid exhausted'. 

'We had no idea what exhausted is.'

Restrictions around maternity appointments and birthing are in place in NSW hospitals during the pandemic.

The number of people a woman can have to support her during labour, or who can visit after the birth, varies depending on the facility. 

'This decision will depend on individual circumstances, the size of the birthing room and transmission of Covid-19 in the local community,' the NSW Health Department website informs. 

Compassionate and cultural considerations are also taken into account but expectant mothers are advised to consult their doctor and/or midwife before the birth to create a plan.  

The midwife's heartbreaking post comes shortly after reports emerged Western Sydney Local Health District had banned all visitors, including partners, from visiting newborn babies at Westmead, Parramatta and Blacktown hospitals the week after Greater Sydney began its latest lockdown 

A MIDWIFE'S SORRY 

To the families of Sydney, please know that I am sorry.

I am sorry that you are scared to come to your appointment, for the fear that comes with entering a hospital.

I am sorry that you are scared to go into labour, unsure of what new rule and restriction awaits you.

I am sorry that you can't hear my words of reassurance through my mask and shield, they are telling you that you are strong and that you can do this.

I am sorry that you can't see me smile, knowing the more intense your labour becomes, the closer you are to meeting your baby.

I am sorry that my eyes look so tired, long gone are the days of mascara and perfect brows before work. Walking out my door to go to work takes all of my strength.

I am sorry that your mother won't bear witness to you becoming a mother, we do desperately wish this were not the case.

I am sorry that I may be the first person to rock your baby whilst you sleep those first precious, exhausted hours post birth. Visiting restrictions are hard.

Please know that I never became a midwife for it to be like this. It is the very anthesis of all that we as midwives believe in.

We walk with you in your fear.

We live in fear of hugging our loved ones.

We live in fear of making others sick.

We live in fear of angry relatives.

We live in fear of giving you information that is correct today but will be incorrect tomorrow.

We are scared and we are tired.

But we are with you.

We love what we do, and we love supporting you.

I am just SO sorry, that for now, it's like this.

- Claire Devonport 

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