|The NHS has no separate budget for antenatal education. The Maternity Service’s money comes in one big pot, which they have to split between all the different areas they cover, including caesarean sections, inductions, life or death emergencies etc. Funding antenatal education is understandably rather low on this list. However, from our point of view antenatal education is vital, and because our culture has moved so far away from how humans naturally give birth, we feel it is worth spending money on decent education. So we fund it all ourselves. As a Management Team we have invested a huge amount in this service, and continue to invest, making sure that our free antenatal education is the very best it can be.
To date we have had over 860 bookings onto the Essential Preparation for Birth Workshop, which is an astounding result for a new service that has only been up and running for 10 months.
The amount of work that Jo, Emily and I have put in over the last 18 months doesn’t bear thinking about, but we now have a packed out centre in Kesgrave, with our own classes and our partners’. We are an independent organisation running our own baby classes from newborn right through to preschool, including workshops for parents to help them with their newborn or toddler. We have built a popular Facebook page, website, and of course this newsletter. We are introducing two new weekly antenatal classes after Easter. We have launched a new coaching service to provide additional support. As I write this, we are four days into training 5 new teachers who are going to take the Suffolk Babies vision around the county. We do all this out of love and passion, certainly not for financial gain!
We have been nominated as the Suffolk Coastal New Business of the Year, and the winners are being announced at a ceremony at Kesgrave Hall on 15th March. Our little team are really excited about getting together and celebrating all we have achieved in the last year. It hasn’t been plain sailing, there have been a few hiccups behind the scenes that we have had to overcome. Whether we win the award or not, we are truly proud of how far we have come and all we have achieved. People tell us we have changed their lives. I’d like to finish this article with some recent (unprompted!) feedback from a client, who totally sums up what we are all about:
“I wanted to thank you and your team so much for the last year or so. Katie helped me when I first made a hash of the booking system for the pregnancy relaxation classes, then Josi took the first set of pregnancy classes I attended and gave me the confidence to feel like I could birth my baby. Emily took my next set of pregnancy classes during which I found out [my baby] was breech. I tried everything under the sun to turn him but was unsuccessful and she sent me an email that made me cry and helped me acknowledge that by having a caesarean I was still birthing my baby and that was ok. Once [my baby] arrived we attended your classes, Jo. It was such a lifeline to meet other mums in a welcoming and supportive setting. Whilst trying to build some sort of routine with [my baby’s] naps I had to throw out the rule book a little to fit your classes around when he slept because he just loved them so much. It will also always be a very special memory for me seeing him crawl for the first time in your class. He just had to see what was in the pink spotty box!! I have loved everything about Suffolk Babies, including the Latch Patch and the first aid course, so thank you thank you thank you.“