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