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The power of the Leeds Maternity Voices Partnership

Maria joined the Leeds Maternity Voices Partnership as a service user, and she has seen it become a real powerful force steered by some of the most passionate, hardworking and caring women she’s ever known

Maria – volunteer for the Leeds Maternity Voices Partnership

I was very fortunate to have joined the Leeds Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) meetings when Lucy Potter first became Chair. I’ve seen the MVP become a real powerful force steered by some of the most passionate, hardworking and caring women I’ve ever known.

I joined the MVP as a service user. I am a single mum to two beautiful children of whom I experienced very different pregnancies and births with. I am also a facilitator to a parent and tots group within my own community.

Due to personal experiences I had a strong ideal of how I believed maternity services needed to move forward, what was lacking, what needed attention and what was working and why. I felt the MVP was this amazing space where all these women came together from various backgrounds, professions and experiences to share stories, ideas and strategies to move forward in improving maternity services in Leeds. On a personal note I felt this was a platform to address perinatal care especially for those struggling with mental illness. This I hold close to my heart and feel very strongly in being the voice at the meetings to support this particular area.

I’ve now been with the MVP and Lucy for nine months. In that time I’ve had the privilege of been sat in a room full of women who are like minded, with similar views and ideals. These women are all there with the same passion and focus to help, not just this generation of pregnant women but those for generations to come. We’re all different from one another and come from all walks of life, but when we have meetings and all of us are sat together, we’re on the same page, driving with the same goal in mind.

For me the MVP has opened a door of communication between the women in my community and the professionals. It has benefited my group as well as me and others in the community. I have become a link connecting mums or mums to be with the professionals they wouldn’t necessarily get to speak with, and also for the professionals to have the opportunity to speak with mums in an informal manner to gain valuable feedback and information. In turn this has also benefited the MVP itself.

I am also part of the perinatal care team who focus on mental health, wellbeing and vulnerability immediately after giving birth. This has all stemmed from and made possible because of the MVP and the links available to one another.

I have gained a great insight into maternity care in Leeds which has been invaluable and helped forge a way forward. I feel part of something special, which really has the power to move mountains and improve maternity services in Leeds.