May 5th is an internationally recognised day for highlighting the work of midwives all over the world. Although I’ve always thought May the 4th (be with you) would have been more appropriate! For me, today is the perfect opportunity to reflect a bit about how I got to become a part of this amazing group of people and to talk a little bit about some of my favourite things about being a midwife!
When I was at school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, which of course resulted in me going to University to study Politics and French, as you do! There were a few over opinionated people in my politics module (understatement) but on the whole it was fine and I was really enjoying the buzz of university life! So the way I felt when I met my flatmates mum who was a community midwife really came as a surprise to me! This might sound stupid but at the time of looking up university prospectuses and researching careers, I kind of forgot that midwives were ‘a thing’. There was no One Born Every Minute or Call the Midwife on TV to remind me. I pretty much missed out the health sector because I didn’t think facing sickness and sadness every day was what i wanted. As soon as Lynsey’s mum left that night, I stayed up late researching what a midwife does and it was a real eureka moment. So much so that I quit my degree a few days later and applied to midwifery right away. Midwifery is a hard degree to get in to, with limited Universities only taking about 20 applicants a year at the time, so I was so so thankful and relieved that I was successful. What’s weird is that soon after, my flat mate Lynsey also quit her degree (in Dietetics) to follow in her mums footsteps and is now a midwife too!!
Now that I’m over 4 years in, I can’t imagine doing anything else! It really is such a special job. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to it and it’s not all sunshine, but on a day like today I’ve listed 10 of my favourite things about being a midwife!
10 things I love about being a Midwife:
1. We help empower women and get to see how incredibly strong and courageous they are on a weekly basis! It really is so inspiring and the admiration I have for them can’t be described! #girlpower
2. It’s amazing how fast we can build rapport with people. It’s a relationship built on trust and support and if we have the opportunity we can really get to know people which is one of my favourite things about the job! It’s certainly not always like this but sometimes by the time the baby is born you’ve learned their deepest fears and insecurities, their strengths, how they met, seen photos of the wedding and nursery decor, heard details of their loft conversion and know their dogs middle name. I love that! It makes it all the more special when you get to see the precise moment that they become a family.
3. Midwives make the best tea’s! And by teas I don’t mean a cup of tea, I mean a Michelin star spread/buffet. It’s like a full scale military operation/obstetric emergency drill enlisted for when it’s someone’s retirement, birthday, baby shower etc. A list goes up of who is bringing what and there’s always enough to feed the entire East End of Glasgow. I tend to bagzie things like crisps and dip because we can’t all be Mary Berry!
4. People that you meet outside of work will tell you their full labour story including leaking nipples and incontinence. It’s not that I enjoy that, but I just find it endearing that they automatically trust you enough to want to tell you ‘their story’ within minutes of meeting you at a friends BBQ.
5. We don’t just ‘deliver babies’!! We do so so SO much more, and make so many autonomous decisions with a huge amount of responsibility. #ifyouknowyouknow
6. We get to appreciate how precious life is. The ability to conceive, grow, birth and parent a baby is not something we take for granted.
7. We work as a team, wether it’s making the 6am nightshift tea and toast or running up the corridor to help your colleague whose patient is haemorrhaging. From doctors, auxiliaries, porters, ODP’s, sonographers, physio’s, social workers and loads more, it’s nice to be a part of a wider team where everyone brings something to the table. It just wouldn’t work without them all!
8. We get to see how amazing the human body is. It is honestly mind blowing. Granted it doesn’t always do what we want it to but it really is an incredible thing. And even when it doesn’t do what we want it to, it’s amazing how over the years through science and research we have learned how to treat and manage some things.
9. The thank you’s. It always amazes me when you get women who endure the struggles of childbirth and within seconds of the baby being out they tell you that they “couldn’t have done it without you!”. Are you kidding? You’ve just pushed a baby out of your vagina – you’re an absolute champ and as we always say “you done it all yourself”. The thank you’s really do mean so much to us at every stage that we see you in pregnancy, labour and after. Midwifery can be a highly stressful career and occasionally all it takes is one thank you to stop you from collapsing in a heap and getting a job at Asda.
10. I love how people tend to think midwives are all wee old dears with really softly spoken voices who love rainbows and knitting! There’s something about Glasgow midwives anyway that makes them some of the funniest, assertive, kindest and quick witted people I know! You know those people that are just so good at telling a story too? One of a kind!
I quickly wanted to mention the book below that was given to me years ago by an inspirational health visitor in Castlemilk called Rhonda. It takes a lot of confidence and fearlessness to become a midwife and she built me up when I was lacking it as a student. I’m always so thankful for influences like her, especially now being a mentor myself.
“Remember we can do anything we put our mind to!”
And on that matter I’d love to say a massive thank you to a few business savvy friends of mine that have been SO generous to donate amazing raffle prizes for charity to help celebrate International Day of the Midwife at the University of West of Scotland!
– Chris Lessani at BRGR
– Luan and Luli from Bread Meats Bread
– Harri at Forty Clothing
– Chloe at Mud Urban Flowers
and the one and only Lisa Donati
Thanks for reading and Happy International Day of the Midwife!