Last week my partner gave birth to our daughter in our living room - the culmination of a pregnancy that was extraordinary only because we received the highest quality of personalised care - all from the NHS.
They can often be left reeling with a deep sense of failure and guilt. But in truth, it is never their personal responsibility. It is the failure of a medical and cultural system, that has not enabled them to reach their goals, or at the very least, given them a knowledgeable and non-judgmental explanation as to what happened.
The old adage that 'practice does not make perfect, if it is the wrong practice' is certainly true and some training programmes have even been demonstrated to do more harm than good. However, when the right training is provided for all staff in a unit, the results can be dramatic.
For every nine families that walk out of the door of the maternity wing elated yet flagging, one will spend time in the neonatal unit. And within each unit is this room. A room that if it could talk would tell you such tragic tales. That has witnessed the deepest depths of despair.
What I do know, is that when me and my tiny offspring needed them, they were there for us. Yes, there were times I was kept waiting. There were times I was told someone would be there in the morning and I didn't see them until the evening. But when we needed them, they were there.
Midwives saw their pay frozen back in 2011, frozen again in 2012, before it rose 1% in 2013. If the typical midwife's pay had risen in line with prices since 2010, she or he would be paid over £4,000 more per year than they're actually getting. Despite that deep fall in their standard of living, what midwives and others are asking for to resolve this dispute is not a king's ransom; they are asking for just a 1% rise.
Since our Prime Minister David Cameron introduced it last year for hospital patients, we have had instant feedback from over 1.3million people - and there is clear evidence our NHS is responding well.
Over the past year, I've become a champion of a niche cause. Few people have heard of it. But it's a cause that directly affects the health and well-being of millions of women around the world. That cause is human rights in childbirth.
Many expectant mothers are not getting the best possible care during childbirth, experts said after research showed wide
Our number-crunching, for the year 2011, suggests that England is short of as many as 5,000 midwives. Progress on midwife numbers since the turn of the century reminds me of the tortoise and the hare. I just hope that, as in the case of that fable, the tortoise ends up winning.