Sometimes we can be really down on midwifery as a career choice.
I can see why - it’s definitely challenging!
But with Thanksgiving just over, there've been lots of American ‘I'm grateful for...’ articles around. I know some people find these kind of posts sickly and artificial, like crunching on saccharin tablets....but I admit to enjoying getting positive thoughts down on paper. In the whirl of shifts and lifelong learning, it’s easy to forget the positives.
Also, I had ‘Christmas’ with my family this weekend (we had our 25th early complete with presents, tree, meal, and last year’s Queen’s Speech on YouTube!). And my Granny Mary reminded me she writes in her diary every morning.
Which made me remember I wrote my diary a lot as a newly qualified midwife. It gave me motivation, improved my practice, and frankly, just made me feel good about myself.
I have pages and pages of my 2010 diary devoted to ‘what went well today’, in scrappy blue biro, which I wrote on lined paper to try and control my terrible post shift handwriting. It’s great to write to see the perks and privileges..
So without much further waffle, here are my 5 reasons. Some are really simple. They focus on midwifery sights, sounds, feelings, touch, and smells (yes, smells, really!) that fill me up with endorphins/happy.
Some are more complicated, and relate to the ways midwifery has changed my life.
I’m grateful for midwifery because...
This is an odd fetish of mine, but I love this maroon, antiseptic, chloriney smelling gel soap which is on all NHS wards. It makes me feel really clean. Is that weird? There’s something oddly satisfying about smelling of hibiscrub. Must get some for the house.
There’re always babies!
Having a job which involves cuddling babies as a necessity is a bit of a dream come true. Also, as a young(ish) woman who’s yet to have her own children, I’m so grateful for the knowledge I've gained, including how long breastfeeds can go on for, how awful screaming doesn't necessarily mean something’s wrong, and how you can usually get away leaving them with a full nappy for a couple of hours overnight...let sleeping babies lie...
It’s made me more capable.
Once you've been handed a labour ward to manage that’s headed up shiznit creek without a paddle, you realise what you can achieve. Some of that courage transfers to real life too, and has made me a calmer, cooler person. (Of course, this courage doesn't directly apply to spiders or tax returns.)
When a Mum meets their baby for the first time, they look euphoric in a way that’s unlike any other face I’ve seen.
It doesn't matter what age, ethnicity, background, or culture these women have, or language they speak - they share this expression. It makes me feel incredibly worthy to be part of that moment. These times are what you hang on to as a midwife. It transcends any kind of tiredness you’re feeling.
It’s driven home this life lesson, again and again: Be Kind. Everyone you meet is fighting their own battle.
Whenever I have a client who’s being aggressive, or a partner who’s causing trouble.... I always find out there’s more to the story. They've had an abusive past. They’re very scared. Their own mother died in childbirth. I'm by no means perfect, but I do think midwifery has made me a more humble, compassionate person.
Now - I’d love to hear your own reasons you’re grateful for midwifery, please leave me a comment below!
And if you found this post thought provoking, please take the time to share it with a midwifery mate.