The Duchess of Cambridge made a secret visit to Kingston Hospital's Maternity Unit recently and has since released a letter honoring the work that midwives do. Released via Kensington Palace on Friday, Dec. 27, Kate Middleton's letter to midwives emphasizes just how important they are to the Duchess, as well as many others who may not realize the work that they put into assisting expecting parents with birth. Her address comes just in time for the new year and the announcement from the World Health Organization (WHO) that 2020 will be dubbed the "Year of the Nurse and Midwife."
The WHO "Year of the Nurse and Midwife" honors the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale's 200-year-birth-anniversary makes for a bicentennial celebration and the Duchess of Cambridge clearly wants the world to know the hard work that midwives do every day.
The letter starts with Middleton personally addressing the midwives in light of the "Year of the Nurse and Midwife," followed by her continuing, "you are there for women at their most vulnerable; you witness strength, pain and unimaginable joy on a daily basis." Middleton says that the work of these professionals "often goes on behind the scenes" and, despite their contributions, it is typically "away from the spotlight." Upon her visit to Kingston Hospital's Maternity Unit — where the Duchess spent several days — she has been given "a broader insight into the true impact" that the midwives have.
Middleton calls the work of the midwives "far beyond the complicated task of delivering a baby successfully," and goes on to praise their significant contribution to the important development of a child during its "Early Years." By creating a helpful and reassuring environment for the parents, she states that these actions go "a long way in building parents' confidence from the start, with lifelong impact on the future happiness of their children."
While the Duchess was at Kingston Hospital, she spent time with midwives "on their daily rounds," in hospital clinics, on post-natal wards, and during her time "was welcomed in to" their homes. For this and more, she felt "truly touched by the trust that people placed" in her. "No matter the setting, I was continually struck by the compassion that those of you I spent time with showed," she continued, "and the incredible work ethic you demonstrated."
Quoting Florence Nightingale, Middleton wrote that these midwives demonstrated the same mantra: "I attribute my success to this: I never have or took an excuse." While our technology and medicine has come far from 200 years ago, the Duchess says that "it is the human to human relationships and simple acts of kindness that sometimes mean the most."
The letter was signed Catherine, despite it making all the sense in the world to sign it with her royal title. But clearly, the Duchess was reaching out to the midwives on a personal level, and one that she could undoubtedly relate to, remaining grateful for their work as a mother, as well as a royal.