International Midwife Day 2021 – Honor the Life-giving Profession
Let’s celebrate the dedication of the incredible midwives!
Every year on May 5th we honor the greatness of the midwifery profession. Marking it on the calendar was officially made in 1992 for the first time. Since then it’s been celebrated every year with certain themes. Organizing events, setting a stall and raising money for good causes are some of the ways the day has been honored.
The International Day of the Midwife this year has the theme:
Follow the data: Invest in Midwives
Even though face to face celebrations are impossible because of the pandemic, there are still ways to show appreciation to our midwives. Especially after the events from the past one year. They have been providing incredible work during the global crisis. Midwives have faced some unbelievable challenges and risked their lives to provide outstanding care for the women. Now is the time to show real appreciation to their commitment and hard work by raising awareness and helping spread the word: Invest in maternity! Midwives deserve to be honored after all the sacrifices they do due to their love for the profession.
If you are looking for a virtual event to join you can check out the Virtual International Day of the Midwife (VIDM) – https://www.internationalmidwives.org/icm-events/webinars-for-midwives/virtual-international-day-of-the-midwife.html
Being a midwife is a privilege and it is way more than just delivering babies. Midwives provide care and support to women during pregnancy, throughout labour and during the first weeks after birth.
As many midwives describe it – a complex and at the same time absolutely fulfilling job.
The life of a Midwife – from hospitals and beyond
You can see a lot of information about midwifery. In order to get a sense of what it really is like, however, you should listen to the midwives talking about their personal experiences. For this year’s International Midwife Day we decided to get in touch with three incredible midwives. They have brightened up our days and we want to share this inspiration with all of you. Here are the touching stories of Whitney, May and Fiona. They shared their motivation for starting the career and some personal stories from the hospitals and beyond. Enjoy reading!
Taking the plunge to become a midwife was an easy decision for me, after being in a career that I knew instantly wasn’t for me. It felt right to finally become a student midwife after years in my childhood pretending I was pregnant by shoving footballs up my clothes and holding my ‘pregnant belly’. My main motivation was to deliver extraordinary care to women going through such a life changing experience.
For me the most fulfilling part of the job is the moment a baby is brought into the world and held in their mother and fathers arms melts my heart and brings a tear to my eye every time. It’s also about sharing support for those parents who may have not got the chance to with their new family additions and supporting them in the best way that I can.
One inspiring moment that really stuck with me throughout my placements has got to be when I was on my first day of my first labour ward placement and witnessed a breech birth. My god what an experience! It was an experience that has such a slim chance of happening and I feel honoured to this day to have been a part of it.
Even though I’ve loved placement and developing my confidence, Covid-19 has affected my mental health during my studies. I’ve often asked myself ‘can I do this?’ Or ‘is this the right career choice’ only because I’ve struggled with learning the theory and clinical aspects of the midwifery profession online. It’s not easy but I can’t wait to see what happens for the rest of my midwifery journey.
How did you decide to become a midwife?
Coming from a family of nurses, I have always had an interest in the health profession, but my curiosity into midwifery was sparked when I was around 12 years old when my auntie fell pregnant. I was so fascinated by her pregnancy and wanted to know everything about her journey. Since then I was fortunate enough to do work experience with a family friend who is a community midwife and from then, I knew this was the role for me! I loved going out into the community supporting parents with their newborns, and it was always exciting listening to their pregnancy and childbirth stories.
What is the most fulfilling part of your job? And what is the most difficult part of it?
The most fulfilling part of my job is seeing those moments when new families are created, to get to be a part of that is such an honouring experience. Another favourite part of the job is meeting empowering women. It\’s so amazing to see how strong women are; mentally and physically.
As with most jobs, there are difficult aspects. With pregnancy and childbirth, the most difficult part can be the uncertainty of it all. Never knowing what to expect when you arrive on shift and always having to be prepared for any emergency. This can be challenging at times but I’m grateful to work with amazing midwives that make the difficult shifts a little easier.
Share the most inspiring story from your professional life. How was your work affected by the Covid-19 situation?
Gosh, do I have so many stories to tell? I have had countless encounters with some amazing women that have changed the way I view midwifery and work as a midwife. I wish I could share some stories without breaking confidentiality! Nevertheless, the most inspiring stories have come from women that I was able to connect with. As a busy midwife, being able to have the chance to connect with women, will be something that I will always cherish.
I began my career in the midst of the pandemic, so it has been very strange for me. I think the most challenging part of covid, was restrictions to “face to face” appointments. It meant that many women were having telephone appointments. It was very difficult for us midwives, as telephone conversations meant that you were not able to build up the same kind of rapport with women therefore these women weren\’t receiving the best standard of care. Thankfully these restrictions to “face to face “appointments have been lifted!
Midwives have been an even greater pillar of emotional support over the months due to the social isolation aspect of the pandemic. Understandably many women have felt more anxious due to the situation and midwives have really stepped up in providing support where we can. I believe this pandemic has emphasised the importance of midwives and our place in society!
Leaving school I knew I wanted to do something within the healthcare sector but didn’t think nursing was for me. I attended an open day at my local university and spoke to the midwifery lectures and used the equipment and I was sold!
I then applied first back in 2013 and was unsuccessful due to my grades so leaving school I went to work in a nursery and got my level 2 & 3 childcare diploma. I then applied again in 2016 and was unsuccessful due to lack of experience, I then went on to attend study days hosted by my local university midwifery society as well as hospital open days and breastfeeding support groups. After this I applied again in 2017 and was offered a place! I started my midwifery training September 2018.
What was your main motivation?
Once I’ve made my mind up on something, I work my hardest to get it. So after being unsuccessful on my first attempt I did everything I could to ensure I was given a place. Once I started training I had moments where I felt I wasn’t good enough or couldn’t do it. In the first year of my training I lost my grandad and he was my biggest supporter, even when he was poorly and I would go to see him he would tell everyone I was his granddaughter, a midwife! (Even though I was still training) he was so proud! So he motivates me even today, on my bad days to carry on. I want to make him and my family proud.
-What is the most fulfilling part of your job?
For me the most fulfilling part is being a part of a woman\’s experience with her family in becoming a family. I am forever grateful to every woman I have cared for that has allowed me to be a part of that whether that is antenatally, labour or postnatally.
And what is the most difficult part of it? The hardest part has to be for me when the pregnancy ends unexpectedly, you can see,feel, hear the heartbreak for the parents and this is an area of midwifery I would like to go into, I also completed my Dissertation on the topic.
How was your work affected by the Covid-19 situation?
As a second year student at the time, all exams and uni were cancelled temporarily and then we could ‘opt in’ to go and work paid for by the NHS. I took the opportunity as I didn’t want to defer my place. Then university came online and we have continued like this.
Learning online has been different and difficult but spending 3 months working during the pandemic gave me the confidence and empowerment to know I was made for this job role.
Share the most inspiring story from your professional life/studies/placements.
All births are amazing no matter how they happen as long as the woman is informed and in control. I have so many favourites.
My favourite that stands out was a woman who was in active pushing labour and she was doing amazing! First baby, and the head was descending as much as we would expect after the time of pushing, the doctors were aware and came and discussed with her the options of an assisted delivery (forceps or kiwi) to aid the delivery of the head down the vaginal canal.
She was adamant to do it herself.
After an amount of time, I relayed to her that the doctors may have to come and give her some help, just after saying this the doctors came in. I told her to block them out and really concentrate and push. The doctors were there ready and prepared if needed. She listened to my voice and blocked out the doctors and just pushed, and a beautiful baby was born. I felt amazing for the women she had the birth she had wanted and I received amazing feedback from the doctors.
These wonderful nurses have shared some touching stories and we are grateful for their openness. Seeing the passion and love behind their words, it’s safe to say that women are in good hands. Young people like them are the reason to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Caring, compassionate, ambitious, conscious and hard-working midwives like Whitney, May and Fiona should be honored not only on the 5th May but every single day!
Mylocum has many opportunities in midwifery which you can check here: https://www.mylocum.com/jobs-3/
What is your midwifery story? Share in the comment section and let the world hear about your amazing experience and adventures as a midwife.