Midwifery and birth, NHS

Summer Sky 

Just recently I was  caring for a woman (‘Georgie’) in early labour , she was very calm and relaxed and preparing to go home . I’d left the room once to get Georgie a glass of water and when I’d returned I’d noticed a beautiful spring like aroma in the room which I commented on . I have a very keen sense of smell which seems to be heightened as I get older . Read more facts about the  SENSE OF SMELL HERE  Georgie’s partner was at home looking after her other child so her mother (‘Lydia’) had brought her in . I asked her about her last pregnancy and then I asked Lydia “How many children do you have?” 

Lydia replied “Two but I would’ve had three – one of my children was born asleep”  

As she spoke I was helping Georgie to get comfortable – Lydia’s sadness was profound, tangible and palpable  – I said” I think you need a hug ” 

I stopped what I was doing and hugged her for at least one minute we both cried and she said “that’s the first time I’ve talked about my son for a long time – and people usually don’t respond to me saying I’d HAVE three children”

The reason why I responded was because I could see, smell and feel her sadness . I also have a dear friend Andrea – we’ve been friends for 35 years – our children have spent weeks at each other’s houses during school holidays when child care was less of a working mothers right and more of a struggle – as a double parent I was bringing my children up doing shifts and being on call. Andrea and her husband helped me so much and our children all had so much fun together  . The bonus was that although 60 miles apart our children practically grew up together . 

Andrea and Micks beautiful son Christopher was killed by a speeding driver in June 2009 who  lost control of his car – Chris was 15 years old . Chris was almost at the kerb and had pushed his friend to safety only to lose his own life in the blink of an eye. 

Andrea and Mick will never get over the death of their beloved son. Andrea’s  daughter is left with only memories of her dear brother and the impact of Chris dying goes on daily in their lives, as well as affecting their family & friends . In February this year 21 red balloons were released on a foggy white sky day to celebrate Chris & his life but also to show that we all miss him & love him. This was also to show Andrea Mick & Rebecca that we LOVE them too. 

When Andrea meets  new people some ignore the fact that when asked about her children she says “I had two” she is slowly learning to talk about Chris to strangers and when I met Lydia that’s why I connected with her . I felt her sorrow and pain as I see & feel Andrea Mick & Rebeccas pain on a regular basis – although I cannot put myself in their shoes . 

We are humans and humans thrive on love and kindness . Why did I talk about the sense of smell ? 

As Lydia & George were leaving  the hospital , Lydia turned to me and said “please don’t say no Jenny ” she pressed into my hand a small bottle of perfume half used and said “please have this and when you smell it think of how you helped me today ” I cried and told her that I wasn’t supposed to receive such gifts that I was merely doing my job – but she said “I I will get myself another bottle I really want you to have this one “

I was with a future midwife who say the whole story unfurl and she was also moved by the Lydia’s  story 

The bottle is the picture connected with the blog and I will treasure that bottle even when it’s empty. It’s called Summer Sky 🌈

I’d like to dedicate this blog to all mothers who have lost children. If you ever ask someone how many children they have and they hesitate to answer or say “I would’ve had …. ” give them a hug – it’s a small act but it will mean a world of difference to no hug at all



NHS Change Day 11.3.15

Which change would you like to see ? I know you could think of quite a few I’ll bet – but just try & think of one change that’s simple – it must have a positive impact and should inspire others to take it on board 

The key aim is to think small so that it’s easy for others who work in the NHS to think “we could adopt that idea!” 

Sharing ideas will spread positivity and increase job satisfaction – and research shows that happy staff make happy patients 

Be bold – speak to someone about your idea – it might be a colleague or someone who works in a different department or perhaps your mentor or a senior manager – do research to find out if your idea is working well elsewhere – ring up that place – ‘take a chance on change’ you never know where it could lead to in terms of patient satisfaction and it will give you a good feeling inside. You will also raise the profile of your own Trust which will make everyone feel good.

For this NHS Change Day I’m pledging to become a listening mentor and to really listen to ideas that future midwives have – in a few years I’ll be retiring and so will lots of other nurses and midwives – it’s time to slowly pass the baton and yet to also keep running . 

NHS Change Day -use your pledge to make a difference 💡💡

Midwifery and birth, NHS

Show Your Heart

Last week I was mentoring future midwife Emily Leeder and I wanted to explain the value of “show your heart” 

As a midwife/ maternity care worker would you sit down next to a woman in labour – hold her hand ? Put your hand very gently onto her shoulder and you will connect with her- sometimes silence is more powerful than any words 

Try putting your hand on a colleagues shoulder and imagining warmth and kindness flooding from you – ask your colleague to be mindful for a moment and I can guarantee she will feel calmness and reciprocity in that moment. Now imagine that for a woman in labour in any birth setting – teach her birth partner to do this – you are connecting the human spirit and showing empathy by a simple act like a hand on a shoulder

Could you help a woman to prepare her mind when the obstetric team are about to come into the room on the labour ward round? Or do you wait in the office ? Does your labour ward have privacy curtains inside the door entrance of each birth room – question why and start to make a change – your Trusts privacy and dignity policies & guidance will help you 

…..ever been strapped to a CTG machine  sat on a bed and had a group of health care professionals standing over you discussing …

your baby 

your body

Your pregnancy

 your induction 

your pain relief 

Your progress

Their plans ? 

I want to shake up midwifery and obstetrics so that all women have an equal voice and so that we all have the same goal – I want midwives obstetricians , maternity workers, MSWs  to show their hearts , to care for women like they’d want their own female family members & friends  to be cared for. 

Start today by caring for each other in the workplace – show your colleagues your heart. If you know a colleague is off work do you wonder if that colleague is ok ? Do you send a card ? You don’t need an address you just need kind words and a stamp – take the card to a manager & they will add the address & post for you. – if you find this difficult then imagine how difficult it is for a woman you are with to show you her own heart and explain how she is feeling 

Be kind to one another and from the 6cs I’d like you to use the following three to help you on your journey 




As a caremaker each day I go into work to think how I can improve my kindness rating I try not to be complacent about what I do – I focus on imagining myself as the other person (whether this is a colleague or a women) and I try to think hard about how they may be feeling -this helps me – I tell future midwives that I’m not perfect that I make mistakes & that I’m learning each & every day. I ask future midwives if they have new information to share -they are basking in the depths of learning and we can all learn so much from others 

Be kind 
Thankyou for reading my blog 
Jenny x


International Woman’s Day 

Yes sisters I’m writing this for you – the sister who lives in a remote place infected with HIV being cared for by her children – feeling pain every day as she knows she is dying – pain which is emotional and physical because what if ? What if ….. ‘What if I lived in a developed country where I could have access to screening and the birth of my daughter would have been planned to reduce  transmission of my infected cruel blood to my child. A place where kind staff quietly knew about my condition but did not mention it to others and where my life would be so different ‘ WHAT IF? 

Yes sisters What if ? What if you’d been held down and told “it’s our way – it’s a celebration” as your female relatives watched whilst the searing pain of female genital mutilation was imprinted onto you forever -a  trauma never lost – a confusion of why love does such things … What if – what if you’d  been born in 2015 when such atrocities are being stamped out by education and law . 

Yes sister I’m writing this for you – What if ? What if all society totally  understood that birth is an intrinsic part of who we become – what we do. What if ? to the sister who couldn’t tell the midwife why she was so scared of labour and being examined. She is trying to scream it out as she gives birth but all she hears is “don’t shout out” . This sisters screams are releasing years of abuse she experienced behind her own front door. This abuse has never been spoken about before. This abuse was dampened down by a culture of acceptance and by her own true real fear. What if ? If only her mother and her sisters had believed her ……

What if my sister ? What if there was a world where feminism was seen as a human right and all humans would have the same rights ,same pay,same treatment, same life choices, same education , the same health care . A world that where all sisters and all brothers live and breathe equally without fear and in kindness and peace

WHAT IF – yes sister im writing this for you … You’re an office worker and being bullied by other women , they taunt you, talk about you, exclude you , scrutinise your work . “The manager wonders why each month I never quite reach my targets – he doesn’t know any of this , he thinks I’m lazy , truth is I’m scared and I haven’t slept for months . Why are my sisters doing this to me ? What if? What if I had the courage to find someone to help me ? 

Yes sisters I’m talking to you rise up speak out , not for yourself but for women everywhere . Be proud of being a woman have gratitude for the life you have. Every day try to focus on   how YOU make other women’s minutes , hours , days , months , years even better . Help your own sisters and love them dearly , be a sister friend . Hold this thought and imagine all men and women thinking this every day ,” what if ? ” 

what if ? WHAT IF? every single birth was peaceful . We all have one thing in common – we are all born – and we are all born from woman 

International Women’s Day …. What if ….