I was recently asked to write a ‘Day in the Life’ to be part of a feature on maternity people in a journal. I wrote two versions, one an actual day (our April MSLC meeting day), and the other this more reflective piece. I thought that explaining ‘how I got started with this, and what happened then’ might be more helpful than ‘what I do now’. The editor chose the hour-by-hour day. So I am posting this here now as a companion piece to my blog about the NHS Constitution: for maternity commissioners – to explain a little about what volunteer service user MSLC members ‘do’, other than attending formal meetings.
Also acknowledging my many service user rep colleagues for the hours and hours of unpaid time you commit to the work. Those who tell their own stories; those who stay and facilitate the involvement of others. The time listening to women and families; the planning and prep time; the writing up; the meetings; the reading things that make your head hurt (research, policy) because if we join in knowing more of that stuff, maybe we can be more effective – maybe we’ll be heard. Because it takes many working together to see something like the whole picture, and to say clearly, together, that no one of us has the right to speak for all women, or to tell women in general ‘what to think, what to do.’ (6 May 2016) Continue reading