Mutiny on the Bounty

5 months tomorrow since Baby Tilda died

5 months ago today my world fell apart.

My life was turned upside down and inside out when my baby died.

14 months ago I was about to start labouring for her birth.

I was blessed with Matilda Mae.

Labour started just after 10pm and by 10.30am she was in my arms.

By 6.30pm we were home to kiss Esther and William good night.

I remember thinking, I honestly do, that once again I had not been given a Bounty pack nor met the Bounty Lady.

3 years ago I was about to get very very sick while pregnant with Esther and William.

On the 10th July 2010 I was 25 weeks pregnant and I was rushed into hospital in excruciating pain.

I lost the next 4 days of my life.

To pain and sickness I did not realise was possible.

I remember very little of this time.

My husband remembers every detail

Of the days he thought he may well lose me and his unborn children

Or have to choose between us.

We were cared for amazingly

By the labour ward in our local hospital

And not once did a Bounty Lady come by

She had been told of the circumstances

Everybody had

This was a woman who might live or die

Whose babies might live or die

I was on that labour ward for over 10 days

And the care was excellent

I truly cannot fault it.

The care was also exemplary when I was readmitted early in the morning of 24th July 2010

Already 10cm dilated

And ready to give birth to my twins at just 27 weeks.

A very different birth story to Matilda.

A very different start to life for Esther and William.

59 days in NICU and SCBU.

Until finally they came home.

This was my first birth and I had heard tell of Bounty.

The opportunity to have a first photo with your baby

My babies

This opportunity never came for me

I did not meet the Bounty Lady.

The nurses in SCBU asked me about 4 weeks into our stay

If I had had my Bounty packs

I said that I had not

They helped me find the lady, explain my circumstances

And collect my packs

One for each baby

Filled with useful information and products I might use in weeks and months to come

When my babies were big enough and strong enough to come home

I spent hours expressing milk on SCBU

And reading through the Bounty information book and flyers

Was something useful to do

I also signed up for Bounty emails

And I still get them now

My choice

Telling me all the things that Tilda should be able to do

But also offering fabulous deals on products and services

Just like other baby websites and networks do.

I think it is very sad that some people have had a bad experience with Bounty

But it is by no means everybody

Some people have had really positive experiences

And some like me no experience at all

I often wonder and especially now what a Bounty Rep might have said to me.

If they had the chance.

I think it is testament to the excellence of the maternity team at my local hospital

That I did not meet the Bounty Lady

I was never put in a situation where I had to explain where my babies were

But I was still able to access the advice and free products offered to mummies who had suffered less traumatic births.

On this blog I write about causes I am passionate about

I truly believe in the power of people to make a difference

To raise awareness of issues that they are passionate about

For some people it is Bounty

For me it is …

Improving facilities for parents of premature babies

Improving care for families who lose a child to SIDS

Helping toddlers deal with grief

Raising awareness of Sudden Infant Death in older babies and toddlers

Promoting the good works of The Lullaby Trust, Bliss and Tommy’s

All of whom work with Bounty!

I wanted to write something to share my experience, or lack of, with Bounty.

I wanted to share the awesome care I had at my local hospital through the birth of all my children and the death of one.

I wanted to stand up and shout that there are far more important things to worry about.

Life and death things that need our focus, our energy and our attention, now.

To really and truly make a difference that might just save some lives.

I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;
and because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do something that I can do.
Helen Keller

19 thoughts on “Mutiny on the Bounty

  1. Here, bloody here. I was grateful for my Bounty pack, the freebies and information were ace. Do I wish I’d not been asked if I’d like a photo of my newborn when he was an hour old and not even dressed? Yes, I was still out of it. Do I particularly like the photo? No. Do I treasure the photo because it is the only one which doesn’t show an ugly red dent, cut and scab on his head from the forceps? Beyond belief! They’d kindly (I honestly feel that) airbrushed out the mark, reducing the impact of it on my wonderful child’s forehead to a minimum.

    And for that, I will be eternally grateful.

  2. This, just this! A few people have gone crazy and I just don’t understand it at all. If you don’t want a picture or pack when/if they come round then just say no. Why ruin it for everyone else, people who appreciate having someone to talk to. I found my pack so helpful, lots of reading materials and who doesn’t like a freebie?

  3. I have had 3 very wonderful experiences with my maternity ward’s bounty ladies, each time I’ve been asked by the midwives do I want to see the bounty lady and each time I’ve said yes, for TP’s photo I asked if she could come back later after I’d had a rest she obliged left my 2packs with my husband and came back later to do the photos. With LA I explained I couldn’t afford the photo and she said if you let me take some anyway if your husband stands behind me with the camera or his phone he can photograph the image off the computer screen! Which I thought was a lovely gesture. Surely there are more pressing problems for the NHS to deal with.

  4. I liked my bounty bags, all the goodies and the interesting leaflets. The thing that upset me, was when I was given my bounty wallet at my booking in appointment when I was pregnant with my son, who was born after my second daughter was stillborn. As I looked through the leaflets, Emma’s diary etc, there was not one mention of stillbirth, not one mention of how one in 200 pregnancies will end in stillbirth. I know that nobody wants to think about their baby dieing, but a few pages outlining how to make memories and what to expect if the worst happens to you. A couple of pages that you could see, feel awkward about, avoid, but go back to if you ever needed them, that wouldn’t hurt. Instead I felt such anger that I threw the pack across the room and then dumped it in the bin. I felt like they were denying my babies existence, and it hurt. Things may have changed in the 5 years since then, but I didn’t bother opening the folder with my subsequent daughter.

  5. 3 Cheers to that. I got the pack, I made use of the contents, and like you I didn’t meet the rep. I have no issue with Bounty, I unsubscribed from their emails and I haven’t heard a word from them since. I pick my battles in life – and Bounty certainly isn’t going to be one of them x

  6. Couldn’t agree more, I’ve set up a petition against this ridiculous campaign. I feel very strongly that it is spitefully conceived. If it was run by a party who didn’t run a site in competition with Bounty maybe I’d agree with it a bit more, but it’s a ploy to use members and a few bad experiences to spread hate against a wider group. Yes, those who do not behave as they should should of course be sacked. However, this mutiny will cost the NHS much needed money. There are ways to deal with it, and this is not it. If Mumsnet truly wanted to make things better for Mums and Mums to be, they’d take on the NHS. I’ve heard far more horror stories there than about Bounty. The petition for those who wish to sign it is at http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/uk-government-ignore-mumsnet-over-their-bounty-mutiny

  7. I never met the Bounty Lady, apparently they had run out of packs! I never got a photo. It didn’t bother me though, because I got one later on.

  8. My first experience with the Bounty lady was with my first child. She was ok. I liked the pic she did and bought a value pack. We still have the photos. I did feel a little overwhelmed with the whole mum thing and wasn’t thinking straight. I remembered this and out of principle, I didn’t chase the Bounty lady for a pic of my second child. I regret this to this day. Why did I not get a pic in the hospital with my second child? My camera was rubbish and we weren’t in as long so I didn’t think to take any before we left.

    When I went in for the twins, I made sure we got a photo done. It’s gorgeous and you can’t get that time back. I took the freebies, chucked the leaflets and coupons, filled in the child benefit forms, and didn’t feel at all cheated. Why should I?

    Bounty are a menace in some hospitals and a blessing in others. It does seem a very silly thing to be fighting when there’s bigger fish to fry.

    And that photo at the bottom with Tilda smiling is absolutely gorgeous x

  9. As another mum who never saw the Bounty lady or got a Bounty pack because if the circumstances of my son’s birth I couldn’t agree more. There are much more important things to worry about! Well said Jennie and sending lots of love to you all. xx

  10. I’m glad you does have a good experience but many don’t. I’ve had 5 premature babies, one died. I know so many mothers who were in the middle of expressing when the curtains were drawn back with no announcement, same with medical procedures and serious discussions with paediatricians, angel mothers whose details were taken without their consent. Don’t fool yourself, this isn’t rogue agents, ex ladies are speaking out about their training. A ward is not the place for marketing beyond the snack cart.

    • Thank you for commenting, I am sorry for your loss I know how painful that is losing my own daughter and having my own premmies. I do think this debate is showing people who have good and bad experiences and like me no real experience at all. I hope that Bounty will take notice of all that is being said and find a way to move forward in a supportive way working with maternity services and the aspects of their service that have been valuable to so many x

  11. This is beautifully written and I’m so glad to see a positive blog about Bounty when all I’ve previously seen is negativity. My first child- my son- was stillborn, the Bounty packs were stored in the delivery rooms and I saw a midwife slide mine out the room, presumably so that I wouldn’t get more upset. When I received my second Bounty pack when my daughter was born a year later ended up having a lot more sentimental value than it probably ought to have. The Bounty lady who came to see me at my local hospital was really great, I have nothing but praise for her. She wasn’t intrusive, she was kind and informative and obviously really enjoyed her job. It was an all round pleasant experience and I hope the petitioning won’t bring an end to the Bounty ladies. Thank you for writing this.

  12. Well said!

    I honestly cannot believe how ridiculously out of proportion this has grown is such a short amount of time. Sure there are areas in which Bounty could improve, but isn’t there in everything? And that’s what campaigning should be used for, enacting change for the better not building up hatred and shutting things down!

    Even though I found the Bounty packs quite unhelpful myself during my pregnancy, this was due to how very sick I was and that I couldn’t enjoy the freebies and things they spoke about not because of Bounty itself. I still valued the fact that they were there and kept all the leaflets for if and when I needed the information on them. And after giving birth the Bounty lady gave me my pack but she didn’t intrude, she asked if it was okay to come in and then as my husband and I were enjoying some “quiet time” she stayed only for a minimal time. She never even offered to take a photo (although randomly a man from the local paper did).

    There are so many bigger issues that need fighting for. For instance, my local town only had a midwifery led unit when I was pregnant. You could only give birth there if considered low-risk and even then most mums chose to go to one of our nearest cities because had something unexpectedly gone wrong during labour it would have been a minimum 45 min drive by ambulance to get the care needed. As such, our maternity unit is now closing and mums will have no choice but to travel for care. And that worries me!

    And then there are so many complications and tragedies that we need to be campaigning for research into and support for families affected by them. I don’t personally understand how so much energy can be put into a fight against something like Bounty when babies are still dying, maternal health is so poor in this country compared to other European countries, and (as my own experience has led me to discover) treatment options are being withheld for certain complications (like HG) due to a lack of proper education on the nature and management of the condition, leading women to suffer needlessly and, in worst case scenarios, leading them to terminate much wanted pregnancies.

    How can these things still be happening in our society and people be so caught up in shutting down an organisation that, whilst commercial, still offers much needed support and information to millions of pregnant women?

    I have no doubt that some women have had bad experiences with Bounty, but that is where complaints procedures come in. There are better ways to ensure these things are improved and no longer happen than what is currently going on. And it makes me sad that it has come to this…

    Thanks for writing about this!

  13. I missed out on the Bounty pack too… only six days in NICU but I will never forget a moment of those days, especially the first 12 hours when we didn’t know if our baby girl would make it through the night. But she did and I agree with you, there are more important things to focus on than a tirade against Bounty. x

  14. This is a good post Jennie, and just goes to show that it is not the organisation that is at fault, but the individuals who have caused a bad experience for someone, the same as any business. The main fault of Bounty is in not taking these people out of the equation, rather than in the claims that they universally destroy parenthood!

  15. My son was premature (born at 32 weeks) and I saw the Bounty lady when I was in my room & my son was in intensive care. She was so lovely & asked about the birth which I was happy to talk about. I explained to her how happy I was that he was now able to take 3ml of milk rather than just 1ml and she gave me my pack and offered to do my photographs when he was better. I feel sad that people had bad experiences.

  16. i have to agree with you, i only saw a bounty lady once with my first baby and i had the pictures taken with him, i think with my others i was in and out so quick i never got to see them. With my last baby i just politely declined and said no. There was no hard sell. I find that remarkable that people are moaning about someone offering pictures and a bag.

    We have the bags on NICU where i work and i think it brings a little bit of normality to the parents, we give them one if they want or we dont. Same as they get offered all sorts of other things that they can look at if they want or not.

    There are so many other important issues in maternity services that this…just can’t believe its something so many people are getting their knickers in a twist about.

    How about the fact that there are just not enough midwives? how about the fact that delivery suites have to turn their patients away and send them to other hospitals (costing more money to the trust) because there isnt enough staff! HOw about the fact that there isnt enough money to stock up basic supplies.

    I find it sad and staggering that this is where people put their energy. The NHS we love is dying and this nonsense just makes that process that much quicker.

    Wait till there services are privatised, like the government will ultimately do, then we will see how many private companies are angling to get in the door!

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