On Friday 20.9.18 I presented via Skype to DeMontford midwifery society. I was in Wales presenting at the midwifery forum just before that . My journey back was not at all what I expected. For some reason my satnav decided to take me along narrow lanes and single track roads – No motorways 🛣 were harmed in the making of my journey 😂 . My average speed was 39 miles an hour so it took me almost 7 hours to get home.
I started to think about how midwifery is a journey that we set upon knowing our destination but not really contemplating how we are going to get there or indeed how unique each persons path is . There may be difficulty , loneliness, vulnerability , hunger , sore feet and tiredness – as well as friendship, happiness, compassion, satisfaction comfort and energy .
Each persons journey is totally different – some may take the motorway route and get there faster, some may walk, run, cycle and may take a break or leave the journey . My idea for my presentation was going to be how to make the journey .
Setting off on your journey of midwifery is about letting others know that you are on your way as this will give you support and strength knowing that those people are looking out for you .
The symbolism of wearing the right shoes will help you to feel able to walk in your own way – a good fit, stability and readiness for difficult paths inbuilt into your shoes will pass onto you that it’s not just about looks but dependability and longevity.
Self care and break time are a human right- break time is something that belongs to the person not the system do we talk about this enough ?
Find the things that give you joy and try to have key 🔑 friends outside your workplace 🏥 so you’re not always talking midwifery
- Friends and family
- Days out
- Helping others
- Self care
- Time out
- Protected meal breaks
- Planning trips
Taking a step away from the work environment to go to the canteen , sit outside. Taking a shower will give you a boost and help you feel refreshed and is one suggestion for self care so that you can help the women and colleagues you are with . Have a look at keeping a wash bag in your locker with shower gel , shampoo , deodorant and creams that you can use for yourself and also share with others .
I often think that about people who work in the corporate world let’s use finance as an example wouldn’t tolerate the work restrictions that many midwives have to deal with – no early finishes on Friday to network , no built in structure to ensure workload is distributed evenly , no protected time for online training , making those who work less hours to feel less a part of the team, missing meal breaks, being micromanaged , time in lieu when finishing late instead of pay -is this because we are predominantly female workforce ?
Midwives must seek out others who may act as their compass 🧭 , map 🗺 or guide. It may be a person not even connected with midwifery who is a good grounding force with an ability to listen not necessarily advise .
On my journey I have met many people some fake some real – by fake I mean those who pretend that everything in the garden is beautiful when truly it’s not. Real leaders don’t brush aside concerns or ignore those who are in difficulties at work , they nurture them and see past their rose coloured spectacles .
Consider not only your own journey but also how you behave toward others on their journeys . Do you equalise the voices of future midwives on the labour ward/ postnatal ward / birth centre / community and treat them as leaders or do you plain and simple see them as learners ?
With permanent staff , who are the ones whose voices are always the first to be heard ? Seek out the quieter ones as they too have their ideas and opinions . A midwife who thinks before she speaks to other colleagues will be one who is more likely to listen to women.
There is a dichotomy that exists in midwifery we are taught that we are autonomous practitioners in our own right yet we are micromanaged and constantly asked “where are you up to (with your work)?” In my opinion it’s up to us to rock this boat 🚣♂️ so we can stand strong for the women we care for and challenge time constraints so that we help others with a clouded view to see more clearly .
Becoming involved in someone else’s journey may make your journey more complicated but in time you will see it as an enrichment of your behaviour and realise that the best way to move forwards is always together .
In identifying the problems on your journey you will gain insight into how to improve and consider EVERY woman’s personal journey through maternity services ❤️
The analogy of never arriving keeps you grounded and helps you to stay humble .
Be kind to one another
With love Jenny ❤️