Midwifery and birth, NHS

Aspire To Inspire at Sheffield Hallam 

Jenny Clarke 

 On the 30.7.15 I had a wonderful day at Sheffield Hallam University with the future midwives of Cohort 2012.

The day was full of positivity including stories of birth, life stories but most of all stories about how we can all make a difference in the lives of women and families. 

“Miss Titley” presented housekeeping information for the conference in an ‘air steward style’ (her previous job role) – this set the scene and connected all the attendees through laughter and helped us to bond at the beginning of our journey together on #AspireToInspire. We fastened our seat belts in a metaphorical sense and began the vertical climb aspirations and inspiration. 

It was totally fitting that Sheena Byrom OBE (click HERE to see Sheena’s website) was the first speaker introduced to us all by Jenny Mison to talk about “Turning the silence into a Roar”.

Sheena has the ability to make you think hard about your own practice as a midwife and she has a way of instilling courage into your soul. The way that she does this is by giving out current and topical information on global and UK developments within midwifery. Sheena is a midwifery leader who is self-effacing about her own achievements preferring to raise others up through her kind and compassionate words. Sheena promoted the invaluable work of Birthrights , Iolanthe Midwifery and Lancet Midwifery Series,

Sheena also showed the wonderful thought provoking Mat exp Film by Strategic Clinical networks London NHS which you can watch HERE
The conference was raising money for Iolanthe Midwifery Trust and ‘Safe at Last’ charities. 

 The fantastic work of Iolanthe Midwifery Trust click HEREfor more information to allow student midwives and midwives to receive funds to better maternity services was explained by the ambassador Sheena Byrom. 

The Iolanthe Award has already benefited two of the students at Sheffield Hallam, Rosie Hotchin (to become a Wise Hippo Hypnobirthing and Birthing Instructor)and Jenny Mison (Katherine Graves Hypnobirthing Instructor). Rosie and Jenny received the Iolanthe Award this year to receive training to become Hypnobirthing Instructors. Offering this service to women enhances choices and also improves both Rosie and Jenny’s own experiences by equipping them with the techniques, knowledge and empowerment to reduce inequalities ensuring all women get a positive birth experience.

Emma Jackson highlighted the importance of recognising child sexual exploitation, and the fantastic charity SAFE@LAST click HEREfor more information . This charity helps young people who are at risk of running away. Emma Jackson gave a harrowing talk about her own experience of sexual exploitation as a 13 year old girl highlighting that there were many lessons to be learned here for midwives and health care workers to be non judgemental build rapport and move forwards with women who are or may still be in this situation. 

 Sheffield’s citywide “One-to-One team” talked about their movement to promote choice in women through offering physiological vaginal breech birth. Helen-Dresner-Barnes (Midwife) and Julia Bodle (Consultant Obstetrician) spoke about how it is pinnacle that the team work with the obstetricians as collaboration is vital to make change happen. They showed films of breech birth and reinforced how vaginal breech birth is a safe option (possibly safer option than elective caesarean sections when looking at those associated risks) as long as certain criteria is met. Collaboration is vital for the future midwives of today as this is an intrinsic part of the curriculum. 

 Joy Kemp of The RCM presented the Global midwifery Project which works to improve maternal mortality rates “Link to Nepal Earthquake Fund at RCM” Joy lives up to her name and truly exudes a joy and value to her role – inspiring others to consider working in countries where health care is underdeveloped by teaching and supporting women and families. 


Sheffield City council fund the Doula Project click HERE to read more which enables vulnerable women to receive the support of a doula from the antenatal period through to the postnatal period. This innovative project means that vulnerable women receive positive support and gain the friendship, and an advocate, of their allocated doula.
The woman and the doula are matched up and a relationship is formed which becomes the solid foundation of the pregnancy birth and postnatal period 

 Rosie Hotchin 

 Then I (Rosie Hotchin) introduced my great friend and #twitterbuddy Jenny Clarke. She immediately got the crowd singing, laughing, and joining hands playing the song “hold my hand” by Jess Glynn .Jenny spoke about how social media has been pinnacle at promoting her campaign #skintoskin as part of birth. The long-term impact of women not been given skin-to-skin with their baby was highlighted through a video showing women still become emotional thinking about how they were not facilitated to have this special moment.

Jenny soon got everyone off their seats, to highlight how we can explain to women the benefits of skin-to-skin in every situation by role playing a theatre scene. The wonderful Sally Goodwin was quickly changed into a theatre gown to become the woman, and Jenny showed how we can talk to women to explain the benefits, and actions and tips we can take to ensure this occurs.  It was useful to see the experience of being in theatre from a woman’s point-of-view and the amount of people in the room Simple actions such as speaking to the woman by getting down at her level, using everyday language and ensuring everyone in the room introduces themselves makes a huge difference to her experience. 

Finally, the 2012 cohort brought an end to the conference through thanking their lecturers, students and speakers that have truly aspired to inspire. Sally Freeman (Course Leader) did a marvellous, emotional final speech highlighting how strong and passionate the 2012 cohort are and midwifery is safe in their hands. Cohort 2012 are truly are family, who, without a doubt, will move mountains with the support they have for each other that has already seen many individuals receive marvellous midwifery success in their midwifery career already. They are all an inspiration to each other


Jenny Clarke and Rosie Hotchin

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