Bountiful/ Bounty-less

I was reading this excellent post from Fertile Feminism about the pernicious “Bounty lady” on postnatal wards in the UK, when something I’d been wondering about clicked.

The pack contains a few inoffensive and even useful things, certainly — Child Benefit and Child Trust Fund forms

Oh. Is that where everyone else got them? I had both my babies at home and nobody, ever, has mentioned child benefit to me, or explained how to get it. What with general new-baby blur and, in both cases, postnatal depression, it was months before I managed to get into town to an open post office, locate a form, fill it in and send off the documentation. In both cases, I lost some money because of my late application. And if I’d grown up in another country, there’s no reason why, to this day, I’d know that I was even entitled to Child Benefit.

So, I’d been thinking this was a sad state of affairs for an allegedly “universal” benefit: that it was available only to mothers who knew about it, and could manage to go through the several steps of obtaining it while dealing with a tiny baby. Turns out the reality is perhaps more bothersome: the distribution of benefits information is left to commercial interests in maternity hospitals, and not provided at all to home-birthing mothers. Why isn’t it given when you register your child’s birth, an experience that actually is universal? Hmm.

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9 Responses to Bountiful/ Bounty-less

  1. Becky says:

    And isn’t homebirth quite common in the UK? At least, more common than it is in the US?

    Is it also more common among immigrant populations — i.e., those least likely to know about the Child Benefit? It’s a shame that they’re not doing more outreach about it, then.

  2. Ailbhe says:

    The health visitors here ask if you’ve got the forms when they do their first visit after you’re discharged from midwife care.

  3. Ruth Moss says:

    I don’t remember it being in my Bounty Pack, I was told about it by the community midwife.

    But yes, absolutely, it should be publicised much more widely!!

  4. Alison says:

    I’m trying to think. (I know I know) I did get the form in the bounty pack with Thomas. I think I probably downloaded it or something with Nico, because I didn’t get a bounty pack. Can’t remember though.

  5. Anji says:

    I don’t think it was in my Bounty pack (I gave birth in a birthing centre) – I think my ex’s mum got the forms for me.

  6. FertileFem says:

    It says on Bounty’s website that those having a home birth should get a pack from their midwife. I wasn’t given one but am glad for that!

  7. Nuala says:

    I was given the Bounty pack by my midwives both times – I wonder if different teams have different attitudes to them. Which reminds me, I need to send the form off for no 2.

  8. seenonflickr says:

    Those forms should absolutely be available/publicized no matter where you’re giving birth!

    I think at birth registration is a good idea!

  9. I do agree with all of the concepts you’ve presented on your post. They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for starters. May you please lengthen them a little from next time? Thank you for the post.

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