When the Duchess of Cambridge recently found herself face to face with one of the midwives who brought Princess Charlotte into the world she did what any other woman would do – she hugged her.
Kate was clearly thrilled to see Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent among the guests at a Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) event in north-west London. The pair were photographed embracing in what onlookers described an a "joyous reunion."
Kate was at the RCOG event to help launch the Nursing Now campaign, which aims to support nurses to become leaders so they can play a greater role in health policy decision-making. According to the Express, Kate who is expecting her third child in April, thanked RCOG president Lesley Regan and added: "It was so great to see Jacqui as well."
The joyful bond between a mother and the midwife that delivered her baby is something lots of women will relate to – I certainly do. Both of my babies were delivered by student midwifes (with guidance from a fully qualified midwife) and I have very fond memories of them.
Lauren, who helped bring my firstborn earthside was calm and composed while I swore like a sailor. The next day she came to visit me on the ward and sat cross-legged at the end of my bed as I attempted to breastfeed. "It was one of the easiest births I've ever seen," she told me. "It didn't feel very easy!" I replied.
I then apologised for all the swearing. "Don't' worry – that's totally normal," she told me with a bright and reassuring smile.
Second time round, it was Nicole. Nicole followed my pregnancy and assisted at all of my antenatal appointments, so by the time the birth came we had built up a good rapport.
When the time came it all happened pretty quickly (as second labours often do) and for an awful twenty minutes it looked like Nicole wouldn't make it. When she walked through the door I felt a wave of relief – although she was still in training I knew I was in very safe hands.
As my labour progressed Nicole talked me through the process. "You're where you want to be," she reminded me. She spoke in a soft, soothing tone and the sound of her voice kept me grounded.
Nicole came to visit me a few days after the birth and I remember greeting her like an old friend. Here was a young woman at the start of her career, yet her calm presence had been a guiding light through my pregnancy.
Thanks to social media I have been able to keep in touch with Nicole. I know that she qualified with flying colours and went on to deliver babies in rural New South Wales. How lucky they are to have such a wise soul to bring them into the world. I also know that Nicole has had a baby of her own and is now experiencing the other side – motherhood.
I will never forget Lauren and Nicole. They stepped into my life for a short time, but played an extremely significant and life changing role. Their faces will forever be part of my birth stories and for that I will be eternally grateful.
And so, should I find myself standing face to face with one or both of them – I'll do exactly what the Dutches of Cambridge did – I will throw my arms around them in the biggest, warmest embrace I can give.