The Duchess of Cambridge has spent much of the past few years learning about early childhood development, and now she's taken time to focus on the important work being done by the people at the very start of a child’s life: midwives.
In an open letter to midwives across the U.K. and around the world, Duchess Kate celebrates the "humbling work" these professionals do to improve the lives of others. “You are there for women at their most vulnerable; you witness strength, pain and unimaginable joy on a daily basis,” she writes in the letter released by Kensington Palace today, December 27, ahead of 2020’s International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
The two-page note was shared alongside four photos from Kate’s November visit to Kingston Hospital’s Maternity Unit in London, where she shadowed midwives on their daily rounds and visited patients' homes for several days. The visit, writes Kate, “left me truly touched by the trust that people placed in me, sharing their experiences and voicing their fears openly.”
She adds of her experience, “No matter the setting, I was continually struck by the compassion that those of you I spent time with showed, and the incredible work ethic you demonstrated on behalf of your entire profession—not only performing your rounds but working tirelessly through the night to support people that were at their most vulnerable.”
The new year will see Kate dedicate an even larger amount of her work to the early years—the period of development between pregnancy and the age of five—including announcing new large-scale projects that combine her years of research. “The Early Years are more critical for future health and happiness than any other moment in our lifetime,” she writes. “Even before we are born, our mother's emotional and physical health directly influences our development and by the age of five a child's brain has developed to 90 percent of its adult size.“
Before informally signing her letter with her first name, Catherine, the duchess shares a quote from founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale, who was born exactly 200 years ago next year. It reads, “I attribute my success to this: I never have or took an excuse.” That's the mantra Kate has continuously seen with the midwives she's met, she adds.
“You don’t ask for praise or for recognition but instead unwaveringly continue your amazing work bringing new life into our world,” she writes. “You continue to demonstrate that despite your technical mastery and the advancement of modern medicine, it is the human to human relationships and simple acts of kindness that sometimes mean the most.”
Read the duchess's full open letter below.
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