Understanding what it means to be on the receiving end of care is really important to help improve the experience of those using the services. When those who are in receipt of treatment are regarded equally and included in their care there is mutual satisfaction for both the caregiver and the recipient. By looking at some of the dynamics within a hospital setting that prevent this mutual, empowering exchange, staff will be better able to provide services which are person-centred. Each of us develops coping mechanisms to help deal with challenging situations and some of these are discussed to explore the barriers to providing individualised care within a medical setting. Being in need of care brings about an awareness of how institutions and staff within these institutions often unconsciously contribute to providing the opposite. Without an awareness of the obstacles that disempower women and their partners it will not be possible to put women at the heart of maternity services.