Mary Cronk ill in hospital – please send cards and love

by | 2 May, 2017 | ARM news | 18 comments

Mary Cronk MBE, one the longest-standing and beloved members of ARM, has been frail and unwell for some time but today we have had the following news from her daughter, Maggie:

I am very sorry to post this, but mum has taken a turn for the worse. She is in St Richards, on Ford Ward. She has sepsis from a serious bladder infection, fluid on her lungs, and a heart that is struggling. Peter her son, and dad are going to see her this afternoon, and I am seeing her this evening. When I saw her last night, she was speaking, but difficult as she has an oxygen mask on, and was even eating a little yogourt. Obviously the doctor was not too positive. We are all feeling sad, your thoughts and prayers are gratefully received , Maggie, Mary’s daughter XX

We at ARM send Mary and her family all our love. Mary has been a huge inspiration to us all over the years, and we’d like to encourage everyone to send cards to Mary to show her we care at c/o Ford Ward, Spitalfield Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 6SE

From the UK Midwifery List archive:

“I am sure I have told this story before but here it is again. ~Over forty years ago I had my first baby in Queen Charlottes Hospital (my first part midwifery training school) I had ruptured a lumbar disc at 24 weeks and spent the next 16 weeks in QCH on skeletal traction and had an elective forceps delivery at full dilatation. My baby was taken away very shortly after the birth to be “cot nursed” for 48 hours in the nursery as he was a forceps and all forceps deliveries were routinely cot nursed under supervision in the nursery. 40 odd years on I can still feel the emotions I had then. I ordered that my baby be brought to me immediately and informed them that I was my baby’s legal guardian and if he was not brought to me instantly, my husband would be instructing solicitors and bringing an action against them for kidnapping. I was so angry and hysterical, I suppose it was because I could not physically go to my baby that I was so upset. He was brought to me and I ordered that he be put alongside me. They obeyed me. but I was visited by Matron who reprimanded me as if I was a pupil midwife again. I repeated myself that I would observe my own baby and he was not removed from me again. I think that was the first time that the iron entered my soul and I realized that parents had rights.  In sisterhood Mary


  1. Sarah

    So sorry to hear this news. :(. That story gave me goosebumps!! How we need more women to stand up for these rights like this.

    • Nicky Grace

      I know, it’s very powerful isn’t it? She’s been such an inspiration to so many. You’re doing your bit Sarah, we all are. Mary would say, never give up.

  2. Cally Edwards

    I met her at a Home Birth conference about 12 years ago. When I told my mother in law about the conference she gasped. She had been her midwife at the birth of her child. Had helped save my mil’s and baby’s life. That baby? My husband.
    Very best wishes Mary. 🙏 xx

    • Nicky Grace

      Wow. That’s brought a tear to my eye. What an amazing story. Thank you.

  3. Melanie

    I heard Mary speak at the RCM conference and was inspired! Love and best wishes Mary. Xxxx

  4. Nathanya Deakin

    So sad to hear about Mary. An inspirational Midwife with whom I had the pleasure to meet and work alongside as a Student Midwife.

  5. Monica Whittingham

    I want to thank Mary from the bottom of my heart – my first daughter was born breech… at home, without pain medication or any intervention. Exactly how she was meant to be. I couldn’t have found the strength to stand up to all the Drs/midwives who thought I was crazy without her excellent guidance paper and I wouldn’t have had such knowledgeable independent midwives without Mary having forged a path for them to follow. My thoughts are with her and her family xx

  6. Beverley Lawrence Beech

    Mary has been a huge inspiration to me and a good friend. She joined AIMS in the 1960s and was always available to give midwifery advice when we had a question beyond our knowledge. I remember the fight we had to stop routine episiotomies. Mary told me of her experience on the Isle of Wight. She took a woman in and caught the baby in the hospital (unusual as most of her clients gave birth at home). She did not do an episiotomy and was summoned before the obstetrician who told her that all his patients had to have an episiotomy and he expected her to comply in the future, to which she replied “It is not my practice to carry out unnecessary episiotomies but if you instruct me to do so I expect that you will be prepared to answer an assault charge in court.” Not another word was said and Mary continued with her practice.

    • Nicky Grace

      A brilliant story, and so absolutely typical of Mary! What a woman.

  7. Kathryn Wilkie

    Get well soon lovely Mary. So sorry to hear your poorly.

  8. Sally

    Dear Mary, I am praying that you will feel better soon. You are and have been such an inspiration to so many midwives and doctors. Your strength of character and determination to be truly with woman as well as her advocate have led to many babies entering this world into the safest of hands. We love you so much. Xxxx

  9. Tine Oudshoorn, verloskundige, n.p. PGDip ED.

    Dear Mary,

    Greetings with a smile from the Netherlands.

    Tine Oudshoorn, midwife n.p.

  10. Irene walton

    Sending all my love and best wishes for Mary who has been an inspiration and role model for me for many many years as she has for many midwives. Her bravery and courage in speaking up for women is legendary. Praying for you Mary

  11. Gail Nance-Kivell

    I remember sitting and chatting with Mary over a coffee on the labour ward at Basingstoke hospital many, many years ago. I found her to be inspirational, fascinating, strong and very kind. As a new ‘Sister’ at the time she shaped how I gave care from that point on the woman was central to everything. Thank you Mary.xxxx

  12. Kay Hardie

    Mary is an inspiration …… she’s always taken a sensible, common sense, compassionate and humanistic approach to issues. Reading her birth story I’m struck by the sense of how ‘right’ it was that her baby should be brought to her….she knew it, felt it and MADE it happen.
    The support she has given me as a midwife has been all of the above….and her pearl necklace gave any meeting some gravitas!!

  13. Michelle Burney

    Mary your words of wisdom, inspired me as a student, and still truly encompass my midwifery belief now. As midwifery changes and becomes stronger to ride the ever changing world; I pray you Mary become stronger to weather your own storm; may our love and belief carry you through to be well again.

  14. Anna mairaghi

    So sorry to hear this news.
    Greetings from Italy
    Anna Mairaghi

  15. Joyce Hazelton

    Sorry to hear this


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