“But ma’am I didn’t feel good”. I nearly rolled my eyeballs at this statement as one of my patients tried to explain her absence from her first postpartum checkup. It’s one of the most frustrating excuses for a midwife to hear, and very difficult to have compassion for. I took a deep breath and tried to remind myself that this could be a reason to cover up embarrassment for anything from financial difficulty to a mother-in-law’s meddling. The deep breath doesn’t always work though. Sometimes my frustration continues to boil under the surface. I want to shout “I don’t ask you to come for check-ups just for fun! I am concerned about you and your baby. If you really feel bad, that’s a really good reason to come to your check-up so that I can make sure you are ok (and also I waited in limbo for three hours on Friday, and had a hard time concentrating on my homework because I was wondering if you would show up)” The irritation never helps though, and I am sure that shouting wouldn’t help either. Instead I do my best to look heart-broken instead of angry. “I was so sad when you didn’t come, so worried about you and your baby. It is very important for you to come to the check-ups so that I can be sure your baby is ok” I explain in hopes of ensuring better attendance. It doesn’t always work. Many women simply do not come back; it is hard to impart to them the importance of having their babies and themselves checked. In the face of poverty, family pressure, and many other pressing things, baby check-ups are simply not a priority. Many midwives resort to offering pictures at the last check as a bribe for good attendance. It is something we can only pray for – that our patients and their children remain healthy. We can not force them to come see us, and even when they do it is sometimes too late for us to help and they must be referred to a doctor for further care. Please pray for health and safety for our patients, especially when coming too see us is not a priority.