Being busy as a midwife, Courage, Kindness, Learning, Midwifery and birth, Skin to skin contact, Teaching, Women's rights

If you are a midwife – I am just like you ❤️  

I am two people sometimes my identities merge into one sometimes they separate. First and foremost I am a mother who is a writer and expresses her work through writing, art  and social media. Then I am a midwife I work full time clinically and I do shift work. This realisation hit me after seeing the film ‘The Lady In The Van’ where Alan Bennett is portrayed by two actors  showing his two roles – one as the writer Alan Bennet and the other Alan Bennett the man with the house and life to live 

In addition to my NHS role  I also present regularly usually to NHS trusts Midwifery Societies and to other NHS Departments usually around skin to skin contact at birth – I also include discussion around  courage and challenges within the workplace .  Sometimes my  two ‘lives’ meet sometimes they go their separate ways however I am the conduit of my own story . I say this because I blog about some of the experiences I have had within my own work and also talk about them in my presentations . By using these experiences my aim is help others to gain confidence or consider their own approach to colleagues and to women. 

I reflect on each occurrence and then I depersonalise it to write in the third person – the aim of my stories is to give the reader hope for themselves and for others . I want midwives to realise that I am just like them – I get up I go to work I come home and then I work some more .  I work shifts and weekends . There are occasions when I have beans on toast or cereal for dinner and I have even been known to spend a full day in my pyjamas if I need a good rest . There are times on a shift when I may not get a break and / or go home late. 

I have had feedback that some of my blogs hit a nerve – my main passion is to promote skin to skin contact for all birth settings where possible , however if my platform enables me to speak out for others who are unable to speak out for themselves , then I will do it .  I would like to pose a question to you all – 

Are you aware of why some midwives do not rejoice in the work that other midwives do? 

Why is this ? As far as I am concerned it is stopping us from moving forwards as a profession. The midwives that do extra mural work are not trying to glorify themselves but they are simply filled with passion. Their drive is not something they find easy and they get tired and disheartened but they keep going – that does not mean they are any better, wiser or more respected than those doing their role and nothing extra – it just means they want to help the profession to be recognised and all of us to be equally valued. We are all relevant voices so try to respect one another and be professional , compassionate and kind to one another – this will then drip onto the women and families we care for . Consider how you react to a midwife who might be in the public eye and realise that you are equal partners in midwifery . 

Reflect back to your last month at work – have you been in any situation that you felt uncomfortable in ? Did you witness a colleague being upset? Did you see or hear something that concerned you ? How did you feel ? What did you do ? Did you regret not saying anything either because the time was not right or just because you felt scared? How do you think the other person felt ? Who did you talk to about it ? Your supervisor of midwives ? Your colleague ? Your manager ? Your family ? The NMC? Your union representative or steward? Your friends or no one ? It’s really important that when something emotional happens in your life that you can debrief about it . Personal or joint reflection helps us all to  gain feedback from ourselves  and from others and it’s SO important that this feedback includes positivity as well as critical analysis . Why ? There is a plethora of research available  ON FEEDBACK  including the article you’ve just read . Search google scholar for research and articles on how nurses and / or doctors reflect

Keeping a diary each day will help you to reflect back with better clarity – time moves fast and soon the next week is upon us – the incident or situation will pass you by . Unbeknown to you stressful situations,  scenarios , whether they are large or small will slowly and gradually affect your physical and mental health . Things like weight gain , anxiety and depression are directly  to linked to stress in the workplace and can impact negatively  on safety , staffing levels , good care and achievements  for midwifery . 

I suggest you buddy up with someone you trust , someone you can reflect with , plan with and rejoice with. Try to remember why you chose midwifery and the massive impact that your care will  have on a woman and her family . 

We all have the same dreams 

Thank you for reading please leave comments as this helps me to learn and reflect 

Jenny ❤️

11 thoughts on “If you are a midwife – I am just like you ❤️  ”

  1. Beautifully expressed Jenny! What you’ve described is called ‘tall poppy syndrome’ in Australia. Tall poppy syndrome is whenever anyone puts their heads up above the the status quo they get their heads lopped off !

    We need to all celebrate each other’s achievements, not seek to diminish anyone’s success. As midwifery grows in at stature as a profession, then perhaps we will all grow up to be encouraging and supportive. Each of us needs to work to create that culture that lifts each other up because in doing so we create a safer place for women to give birth, confident that everyone has their best interests at heart. We also create a safer and more vibrant work place where everybody thrives.

    That ability to be supportive and excited about someone else’s success really depends on the person themselves really appreciating their own life and their own success. We can’t really do for another person we can’t do for ourselves. Our challenge then, both as an individual and collective, is to raise our individual and collective sense of self, to appreciate ourselves, as an individual and to celebrate our own achievements with joy and gratitude. In this way each one of us will be more likely to encourage support and value another’s achievements

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thought provoking stuff especially at this time of year when we have newly qualified midwives starting their careers. We need to nurture and support them so that they can flourish and grow. X

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Changing patterns of behaviour is hard for some people Jenny – having our practice challenged, instead of being a point for reflection, becomes a criticism and can be taken by non-reflective practitioners to mean they’re ‘not good enough’. When non-reflective practitioners get their personal belief systems challenged they can prefer to hit out at whoever or whatever is causing the disruption to their comfort zone. Perceiving the other person as the problem means ‘I don’t have to change’. Becoming a self-reflective practitioner is an essential step that each of us can take in making the workplace a safe and happy place to be for everyone.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This resonates with me Jenny. I saw a picture the other day which said “Never let someone dim your light simply because it’s shining in their eyes” and it’s true.
    Sometimes people feel threatened by enthusiasm and passion and I think it’s sad because didn’t we all start our careers wanting to change the world? Some of us still feel that way.
    If people need to belittle and ridicule others because they don’t understand their commitment and passion then we should feel sad for them but not allow those feelings of negativity to bring us down. One of the reasons I love Twitter so much is because I am able to surround myself with likeminded people and enjoy the infectious enthusiasm and creativity they emit. I consider Twitter, in particular #MatExp, to be like a virtual maternity unit and every day is like that wonderful shift where you find yourself to be working with your very favourite people x


  4. Jenny, this is really great. All midwives need to have the courage to talk to someone. That is why we wrote about Check and Challengr for “Roar” it encourages our valued student midwives & new entrants to raise issues and seek support.

    Your blog is so powerful #TwitterBuddy


  5. (Having issues with WordPress tonight so pls forgive if I’ve commented a dozen times by mistake)

    This blog resonated with me Jenny as I do feel unable to be positive about midwifery ALL the time!

    Like you I have good days & bad. Days when I am too tired to even eat & crawl into bed when I get home. Days when I cry with frustration after making a silly mistake because I’ve been moved from room to room all day & used examination couches as desks! Then there are the days when I feel I am here to make a difference to families and I must keep going no matter what.

    I am a research midwife & my journey to this point has not been plain sailing! In fact, now I’m *here* it’s still complicated!

    I wholeheartedly agree that we must surround ourselves with likeminded individuals who we can support & seek support from. I am lucky to have a close group of women around me who share my dark humour & boost me when I am low & celebrate the good times with me. I hope I offer the same.

    As midwives I feel it is important that we regularly recharge ourselves both emotionally & mentally. Recently, RCM conference gave me this opportunity. I was able to return to work with the courage to talk to my managers about the bullying I am experiencing at work. I would not have had this courage last week. This shows how important it is to form friendships with other midwives – who are midwives ‘just like us’.

    Thanks Jenny X


  6. Hi Jenny – I have just stumbled upon your beautifully written blog post from 2015. I have also recently experienced the tall poppy syndrome when I worked a bank shift at an NHS Trust and learned that some of my former colleagues see me as an ‘outsider’ now as I was ‘crazy’ enough to step out of the system two years ago to, start my own midwifery group to provide true continuity of carer by going independent. I so wish this ‘us and them’ way of thinking could be overcome. We all want the same thing – excellent care for women and babies and to work in a way that is safe, supportive and sustainable for us midwives. I for my part will continue to look for what unites us (all midwives – hospital, community, NHS, Independent etc.) It’s the only way. Thank you for this wonderful blog! Much love, Sabine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Sabine your beautiful message and comments have appeared at the exactly right moment – when we are passionate we are seen as crazy but those without passion are the crazy ones – I’m sending love to you and hope you are on Twitter to connect with other crazies like us I also recommend Sprituality and Childbirth by Susan Crowther and Jenny Hall plus a book called Self Care for the real world by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips xx sending LOVE X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much, Jenny, yes I am on Twitter (as @MidwifeSabine and with my Midwifery Collective (@LondonMidwifery) and have noticed your presence there too! Thanks for the tips – will get the books! 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

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