ellie durant midwife diaries midwifery support

Honest writing, gentle practice, respect for those most in need of it.

Bring your whole self to midwifery.

Where are you in your midwifery journey?

Ellie is a trained midwife and published author. She provides career support through writing and coaching, and her work is often about respect for the most vulnerable person in the room.

Ellie's writing has been informed by her family, most of who are/have been health or social care professionals. 

Ellie has spoken at events such as The Royal College of Midwives Conference, and has shared a stage with midwives such as Sheena Byrom (OBE) and obstetrician Michel Odent.

Ellie's work includes:

Becoming a Student Midwife: The Survival Guide For Aspiring Midwives 

New Walk - a midwifery novel

A highly-rated career support service, offering coaching for personal statement and interview technique for those applying for midwifery.

The Secret Community For Midwives In The Making, a 26,000 member Facebook group.

Ellie's current writing project is Becoming a Midwife: The With-Woman Survival Guide (Macmillan)

Ellie's  will be returning to practice in Sept 2020 and is currently an NHS support worker helping with the coronavirus pandemic.

A current blog post on Ellie's career to date is below.

When I was a staff midwife in New Zealand, the small coastal town I worked in would be hit by 'weather bombs'. These swept in off the sea, whipping tree ferns and scaring the sheep. I found them exhilarating.

On one wild afternoon, I cycled home from the hospital, battling headwinds, then pushed by tailwinds. I had something to do.

I was soaked to the bone, but I didn't even shower, just towelled off and changed my clothes.

I wanted to do something. I read through my first midwifery blog post for the tenth time, pulled my guts together and hit publish.

It sounds like I'm making it up but there was a shift. My brain gave me an auditory metaphor, the raindrops on the roof as individual readers finding my writing.

I knew it wasn't that great and I had a long way to go, but I also knew this was going to work. 

However, it's never that simple.

I loved writing about being a midwife because I loved being a midwife. Especially in my early twenties, it was the core and beating heart of my life.

But night shift has never been easy and it was pushing me towards despair. Grey waves of depression were breaking out of the night roster and following me onto day shift. Flashbacks and dreams about buzzers in the dark were becoming standard, even on runs of days. My behaviour was desperate.

Night-shifts are an essential part of midwifery, so I continued. Women tend to.

A year and a half later, scared by the zombified, jumpy, too thin person I had become, the only more terrifying thing than leaving midwifery was staying, the only thing worse than staying was leaving.

So I took a writing break 'just to see what happens'.

I moved back to the UK to stay with my partner's family and instead of practising, I poured everything into my blog and business, Midwife Diaries.

You can imagine the issues. I had no role models, no guarantee of anything coming of my business and no plan B.

My family was very scared about what I was doing. My Dad took me to one side and said 'this should be the strongest part of your career. You can't get it back'.

By this point, it was 2014, and the Royal College of Midwives were reporting the UK was 4,800 midwives down. I blogged and Facebooked about the shortage a lot, the irony not lost on me.

And then my partner and I broke up, and I was adrift with just writing.

It was a paradoxical feeling: I was alive in a way I couldn't be when working nights, but unsure about every other aspect of my life.

It's now 8 years after that first blog post. I'm the author of 'Becoming a Student Midwife: The Survival Guide For Aspiring Midwives'; and 'New Walk' (my midwifery novel).

I have a book contract with Macmillan for a new project with the working title 'Becoming a Midwife: The With-Woman Survival Guide'.

I have a small but highly-rated career support service, offering coaching for personal statement and interview technique for those applying for midwifery.

And the midwifery community I run, The Secret Community For Midwives In The Making has 26,000 members. Questions are answered in seconds and our volunteer moderator team includes midwifery lecturers and ex-research fellows.

In Sept 2020 I'll be returning to practice without nights. I finally found the right words to describe what happened—and went for medical help—so people started to get it. Taking several years off has helped them to see that I'm serious too.

You might ask why I didn't go for medical assistance originally. Actually, it's worse than that. My sister is a sleep researcher at Imperial and I didn't even really talk to her about what was going on. Honestly, it took a long time to decide to come back to work clinically and the process was much more about how to respect myself for not coping with nights than anything else.

As I've progressed through my writing career, I've come to realise that most things I write about are to do with respecting the most vulnerable person in the room, be that a client, student or aspiring midwife.

All this is hard to summarise, but essentially, I'm very pleased to be coming home to my profession in a way which will let me be well.

Becoming a Student Midwife


Ellie's highly reviewed 'Personal Statement School'

Click Here

For more details on coaching, including one to one support for interviews and midwifery personal statements, Click Here.

26 Responses

  1. Lena

    I love this blog, newly discovered it but looking forward to reading more of your posts. I’m 21 & finally getting around to studying toward my midwifery degree – currently doing a health science bridging course & hoping to get accepted into Wintec’s Bach. Midwifery next year. All the best!

  2. Ellie

    Thanks Lena, sounds like an excellent plan, let me know how you get on, best of luck!

  3. Angela hough

    I am an aspiring midwife I hope I can pick up some tips to help me on my way to applying to university 🙂

  4. Kenia

    Thanks, amazing, I did love yours videos and your site.
    I still have difficulties with English, but all is almost a dream!

    I need to know about opportunities in courses of midwife.
    I’m nurse, Brazilian, with a wish, be a midwife, so I’m loving all it ?

    • Hi Kenia, thanks, that’s lovely feedback! People tell me English is really a hard language to learn. I’m trying to learn Spanish it’s supposed to be an ‘easy’ language, but it’s still really difficult! Do you currently work in Brazil or England? I think you would need to ask universities about your individual circumstances and grades. There is an 18 month midwifery conversion course for nurses, but you may be better off working towards a midwifery degree, depending on your background. There is a link here from one university that might be helpful: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/documents/health-and-life-sciences-documents/nursing-and-midwifery/factsheet02.pdf

  5. samira

    let me try that again, haha.

    i am a igcse student who aspires to become a midwife. I find it interesting and it seems fun, with great satisfaction. However, i’ve heard that to get into midwifery is very competitive. How will my journey to train as a midwifery be like, briefly? also what grades do i need in order to get into it? thank you in advance

    • Hi Samira,

      Thanks for you comment 🙂

      Every university asks for slightly different grades, but to start off with, you would need the equivalent 6 GCSEs, including Bs or at least Cs in English and Maths. I’m pretty sure iGCSEs would be fine. You would then usually need ‘300 UCAS points from a maximum of 3 A levels including at least one of the following subjects at grade B or above: Health and Social Care, Biology, Sports Science, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology or Sociology. (excluding General Studies). A maximum of 40 points can be counted from AS level’ (This is from one fairly typical Uni website – DMU) (Or, obviously, the equivalent in a different type of qualification).

      Most applicants get some work experience, you can volunteer, see this link here for more info: http://midwifediaries.com/?s=volunteer

      Finally, when you come to apply, you need to write a really brilliant personal statement! There’s loads on this blog on that, have a look around.
      As to whether it’s competitive….there are usually 30 applicants per place, but this can be much higher in some areas. A lot of people seem to want to be midwives ? It’s a wonderful, if very challenging job.

      Your training will be…um…well try this link to explain! 😉 http://midwifediaries.com/midwife-training-uk/
      And this video: http://midwifediaries.com/whats-like-midwife/

      If you want just a straight A-Z guide, try my book, which is turning into a bit of a best seller on amazon: http://midwifediaries.com/becoming-student-midwife-book/

      I really hope that helps! Good luck and let me know how you get on 🙂

  6. samira

    ah right, sorry for the late response but thank you for the reply!! i was just wondering how much you would earn yearly in each stage as a midwife, if you dont mind?

  7. Megan

    Hi there! I think I remember reading somewhere that you studied at DMU? I am planning on applying for 2015 and was wondering if you knew whether the placements were block or if you had 3 days on placement and 2 days in uni each week for example? Also, do you know how many weeks into first year you start placement? Many thanks!

    • Hi Megan, I did indeed study at DMU, it was brilliant and I can highly recommend that course. Placements were in blocks rather than mixed weeks of study and practice, and I believe we started out in practice within the first three months. I hope this helps, good luck!

  8. Claire Roche

    Hi Ellie

    Stumbled across your website. Studied at DMU with you, however did not finish the training. I have now recently qualified as an Operating Department practitioner. A job that I love and have come to realised much better suited to rather then becoming a midwife. However in not doing my midwifery training i would not have come across this role, and have found that a lot of the knowledge I gained during my training has been of use. (I also worked as a HCA on a delivery suite prior to my ODP training). So there is an alternative path for those of us who do not make it.

    Keep up the good work.


    • Hi Claire, how lovely to hear from you! I remember you well. I’m really glad your found ODP work, everyone I talk to about working as part of a theatre team seems to find it really satisfying, and I agree, there are lots of different paths available to you once you get involved with the NHS,
      Thanks for the encouragement,
      Ellie x

  9. Muna

    Hi Ellie, very helpful blog, keep up the good work, I wanted to ask about the helping with my Personal statement please am having problem getting my education and skills across. thank you

  10. irish

    Very useful blog, looking forward reading more of your post.

  11. Sarah

    Hi Ellie, I have just come across your website this evening while trying to do some research as have just found out today I have an interview for midwifery degree course at Canterbury Christchurch university. I am still in shock but am over the moon. It was the best Christmas present I could have asked for!!

  12. Sarah

    Thank you! ! Although I don’t know where to start with preparing for the interview! ! ?

  13. Jenny Ferguson

    I too spent my early midwifery career in New Zealand. It aught to be a compulsory secondment for midwives before being allowed to practise in the rest of the world. It may be at the bottom of the world, but it is the first in midwifery..

  14. Sarah

    As a 30 year old mum on 4 I’m finally preparing to start my ucas application again (11 years after being rejected the first time!). Having had a quick look I’ve seen why I was unsuccessful I’m very much looking forward to receiving your book to help me this time. Keep up the good work!

  15. Lorna Beaumont

    Hey Ellie, my family does a game called ‘serious questions’ of where you just ask a serious question, anyway my serious question to you is ( I hope you can answer it ) why do we not screen women for chlamydia ? But yet we screen for HIV ect but the impacts of chlamydia of foetuses can be dire ??

    • Hi Lorna, good question!

      NICE says:

      Chlamydia trachomatis
      Clinical question
      What is the diagnostic value and effectiveness of the following screening methods in identifying
      genital chlamydia?
      • age
      • urine testing
      • endocervical swabs
      • serum antibody testing
      • history.
      Previous NICE guidance (for the updated recommendations see below)
      Pregnant women should not be offered routine screening for asymptomatic chlamydia because
      there is insufficient evidence on its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. However, this policy
      is likely to change with the implementation of the national opportunistic chlamydia screening
      programme. [C]
      Future research:
      Further investigation into the benefits of screening for chlamydia in pregnancy is needed.

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