Midwifery and birth

Language motherhood and midwifery

In my opinion Postnatal Care starts as soon as the baby is born.
When a woman holds her newborn in her arms that is the moment she becomes a mother to that child. Not all women get the chance to continue their life as a mother in a tangible way – some newborns do not survive some are removed soon after they are born. It is both crucial and paramount that memories made during pregnancy and birth are good ones – kind empathetic words said are never forgotten – a touch and/or a hug towards women, parents and birth partners will be forever retained in lifelong memories
Think of how you as a midwife may chat in the corridor or office of your Trust and continuously consider how you speak about the people you are with as well as the women and families you care for . Think of how you talk about your colleagues as well. We are submerged into our role on a daily basis and we must choose our words wisely when handing over care , during ward rounds , in clinical settings and the office environment – don’t be dragged into the culture of “room 3 is delivered” challenge words deeds and thoughts for the sake of feminism and equality .
Recently I overheard someone call a woman a ‘wuss’ and despite wanting to shout out I decided that a calm approach away from others was more beneficial – I wanted to help that person think about this label .
I took the person to a quiet room on the pretext of showing an article in a journal and said
“I’ve two questions for you – the first is ‘are you a feminist ?’ The 2nd ‘is birth a feminist issue ?’ ”
The person replied “err I’m not sure”
I then said “if you found out someone like you had called your mother a ‘wuss’ when she was giving birth to you how would you feel?”
This led to a lightbulb moment for this person and our conversation led onto feminism and the medicalisation of childbirth – we are now firm friends – and I’ve even heard this same person talking about feminism to other staff.
Challenging someone does not need to be aggressive it should be to inspire thought and to change mindset – we are all learning and sometimes we need to stop think and consider our words – if you do you’ll realise how your positive approach can soon spread . Be kind with your language
I’d like to thank Sheena Byrom for writing so much about language around midwifery and obstetrics – and making me think of how I speak each and every day



9 thoughts on “Language motherhood and midwifery”

  1. A hundred times yes. Too many people fail to appreciate the importance and affect language and tone has on the people listening. Arguably a healthcare setting is the most crucial place of all to get this right. Feeling scared and disempowered is bound to have an impact on your experience and outcomes. There’s just one phrase to bear in mind I think: ‘Be kind, always.’ xxx


  2. I love this Jenny.
    Just remembering that this is the most important time for women, partners and their families… we are SO privileged to be a part of this, and our words at this time may never be forgotton, so be kind, imagine this woman was your daughter, sister, how would you want and expect her to be spoken to?

    Best wishes, Jane, x


  3. Language is super important. It is through language that we express to each other how meaningful the world is. To use language that implies subjugation and criticism speaks of a dark meangingful unreflective world; a world that as midwives we need to steer away from. Thank you for the reminder.


    1. Thankyou Susan – sometimes we are dragged into culture through no fault of our own – due to being busy , no time to think . Sheena Byrom has helped us all to think differently about
      language through her blog and great changes are happening – it’s great to be in contact with you – Jenny

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow Jennie so inspiring reading this blog everything you have said totally agree with you will have to share you’re blog with trusts Facebook nurse’s group if you don’t mind 😊


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