A few years ago, I left midwifery to work on my blog and books. But actually, I left because of night shift.
When I was practising in New Zealand, I was also training for a half marathon, writing a novel, running my business and doing conversion exams. I was getting up at 5 to get a start on it all before a 7am shift and working in the evening too.
How could there be anything wrong? I was nuts for midwifery and life.
I thought I just had a regular aversion to nights.
But on runs of nights.... I’d fantasise about whether I could get my bike hit by a car on the way in.
And between you and me, it did get a bit more stupid than that. It's not something I can talk about and I was a hypervigilant, excellent midwife. But some of the coping strategies and thought patterns are not things I'd want my Mum to know about.
I'm not sure I could have explained any of this, I wasn't good at thinking about it at the time. I didn't think I could be very helpful to as a non-night shift midwife. I thought a lot about whether I was making it up because I just did fancy working at night.
So instead I gave in my notice, published two midwifery books, and founded a 24,000 strong midwifery community.
A bit of an overreaction.
What I needed was for someone to ask me how I was doing and to point out I was being a total lunatic idiot and drawing boundaries was okay.
Cut to three years later, I went to an ARM midwife at my local hospital and asked for her advice.
She booked me an appointment with the Head of Midwifery...and, one GP appointment and sleep researcher advice session later, turns out I was having PTSD symptoms and I'll be clinical again in 2020, sans nights.
There was a lot of ugly but happy crying.
I was this close to never coming back at all. (Thanks midwives who helped!)
What I learnt:
We were never meant to face midwifery alone.
So I've made resources for aspiring, student and qualified midwives which you can find more about here.