All the posts Ellie's written since 2012.

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Cycling to Work as a Midwife

Cycling to Work as a Midwife

Someone asked about cycling to work as a midwife. This is like, my secret pet subject. I've had commutes of 8 or 9 miles to work, I've had insane hills to tackle on the way in New Zealand and I've done quick 15 minute versions.

They've all been great.

I've always done everything on a bike, including on calls. I like that it's good for the environment. I'm a long time cyclist, don't have a car and though I'll need one at some point, I adore my commutes as time to think and wind down (I also do cycle tours, so it's a hobby for me too).

Here are all my tips.

I cycle in jeans and a top. I get changed at the hospital, I use baby wipes to freshen up and Mitcham deodorant. Most workplaces have a shower but this would be too much of a faff for me.

I use an osprey backpack I've had for about ten years and it's still going. It's waterproof.

I have a good waterproof jacket, arcteryx are probably the best but rab are good and many off brands are totally fine too. You will get a bit wet sometimes but it happens much less than you'd think in the UK. Honestly, you can be in a car thinking 'I'd hate to be out in this' but it's all splattered on a massive piece of glass so looks much worse than it actually is.

I have one pouch in my rucksack with a mini hairbrush and some of those sample pots from the body shop with a little bit of makeup so I can do a touch up (I wear makeup if I have bad skin).

Have a pair of running tights or something in your bag in case you need something else to cycle home in, putting wet trousers on is horrible. Mudguards are important or you'll get a wet bum.

I love keeping my bike in my kitchen so I can just roll it out of the front door when it's time to go (it's a light cheap roadbike).

If you want panniers, I recommend Ortlieb roll top, they're expensive but will literally last a lifetime and are very easy to fit even for a muppet like me. They are 100% waterproof, like, immersable.

Get good lights, these days I leave them on my bike (they're cable tied to stop opportunistic theft) as I can't be bothered to slot them on and off every day. I have a knogg blinder back light and a Lazyne front light.

I charge both lights still on my bike in my kitchen, they're micro usb and I have long leads and a usb charger.

I ride with a helmet.

Um...panniers can be a good idea but I prefer a backpack as you don't have to open the panniers and take things out when you're at the hospital (the commute is easy, bending over the bike to get things out is hard).

I try and make the whole thing as slick and easy as possible as it makes me happy.

Also: if you have a longish commute (20 mins +each way) remember compensatory calories.

Hope you enjoy it!

October 27, 2020 0

A letter to my friend David

A letter to my friend David

'Hi David.

I just finished your 'Grace in Action' podcast, I binged listened to them, actually. My favourite researcher Brené Brown talks about living a brave life and it means a huge amount of fear and pain quite often as you can't pretend things don't matter. But it's a bit like fairy lights, where everything is dark and hard for a bit as you walk along the string and then suddenly you find the light again.

Listening to your podcast with Siobhan felt like one of the floodlit moments. So much clarity and beauty in the way you both love Grace. It was a masterclass in love.

Good to remember this as I go back into midwifery. I'm not sure how to say it but I think of Grace and you and Siobhan often as I'm sure many of us do. Do you remember that chat we had about BLM and you talked about turning situations that you can't control and break your heart into some kind of art?

I really hope it was helpful to you both but you know it was helpful to me, and that has to mean lots of others, right?

You gave plenty of evidence and useful information which is brilliant but we need the art so much. To help the women and the families and the midwives find their way through.

Anyway, I'll post the podcast on my blog and hope people find it.

 

Much Love x

Listen to David and Siobhan's podcast here.

 

October 21, 2020 0

‘Are you sure you’re not in denial?’ – Emotional Landscapes [1]

‘Are you sure you’re not in denial?’ – Emotional Landscapes [1]

Part 1 ‘Are you sure you’re not in denial?’

 

It was March 2015. I don’t remember the exact date, but say it was a Monday. I was living in Leicester with my partner. We shared directorship of a small business. I was into writing and online midwifery community building; he did some Amazon trading and helped me with web design. We had a grey corner sofa, savings, a plan to have kids, and a long history of doing international cycling adventures together. We’d been in a relationship for almost 7 years, good friends for nearer 10.

By Thursday, I was living with my parents because he was in love with someone else. 

(more…)

July 12, 2020 1

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley

In year nine we did Frankenstein. We covered it for our SATS. We didn't go into as much depth as anything we did at GCSE but I think we spent most of a term on it.

I might be misremembering, it's been a long time since I was 15. But the one fact I took from these classes was that Mary Shelley had experienced a miscarriage. This was the unnatural, horrific event which explained the monster in the story.

(more…)

May 26, 2020 1

Unconscious Focus

Unconscious Focus

I wrote something today. I think it's better listened to rather than read so I've uploaded an audio file. I recorded it while walking down by the river Cam.

I put the text below in case you'd prefer it.

Hope it helps x

It's 6.45 am and I'm sitting here with a plastic purple mug of strong coffee reading 'It Didn't Start With You', a book about inherited family trauma. There's another book on white guilt I'd like to cover after that. I'm wondering about the time my great uncle spent living in Kenya. And I have one of my Mum's early nursing essays to look at, circa 1979. It's been done on a typewriter with hand-drawn illustrations.

(more…)

April 24, 2020 2

They Who Understand

They Who Understand

I've just finished watching 'Unorthodox'. This is a Netflix series based on the life of Deborah Feldman, a young woman who escaped the extreme Hasidic Jewish sect that she was born into.

The Satmar community are based in Wlliamsburg, New York. Their arranged marriages take place age 17. Wives are expected to be homemakers and get pregnant asap. Their native language is Yiddish.

(more…)

April 19, 2020 0

Community (Corona Reflections: Day 7)

Community (Corona Reflections: Day 7)

This is a post that started as an email to my list. It's from a series of reflections I wrote as coronavirus ramped up. If you enjoy it, perhaps subscribe here.

 

I've spent the last two weeks having more meaningful conversations than I've had in the last two years.

Turns out my upbringing was much more British than I thought. Growing up, I never felt particularly distant from my friends and family, but our boundaries were in place. We never talked about death or love, way too heavy for everyday.

(more…)

April 6, 2020 2

Storm (Corona Reflections: Day 6)

Storm (Corona Reflections: Day 6)

This is a post that started as an email to my list. It's from a series of reflections I wrote as coronavirus ramped up. If you enjoy it, perhaps subscribe here.

 

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 was never one to accept a lift home; being beaten up by this new country was perfect immersion for 24 year old outdoorsy me.

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.

(more…)

April 6, 2020 0

Worth (Corona Reflections: Day 5)

Worth (Corona Reflections: Day 5)

This is a post that started as an email to my list. It's from a series of reflections I wrote as coronavirus ramped up. If you enjoy it, perhaps subscribe here.

I'm going to be vulnerable walking onto a ward. I'll try my best and I think if I'm paying attention it'll all come back but it's going to be awkward and hard.

At the same time, I'm talking to a lot of registered staff who are working and not one of them knows what's to come or feels prepared.

All I can do is turn up with what I have. A willingness to help goes a long way.

(more…)

April 6, 2020 0

11 Responses

  1. Hi I’m 12 and hope to become a midwife when I am older do you have any tips or know anything I could work on now towards it??

    • Hi Katie, thanks for you comment, wow you’re very focused at such a young age! I would come and subscribe to midwifediaries.com for free blog posts on midwifery which are up to date, I have fun with them too so they’re good to read! Volunteering with people is always a good thing to do to develop your transferrable skills, could you get involved via your school with any caring volunteer positions? I’d also start to read everything you can get your hands on midwifery wise, and perhaps come over to the Secret Community for Midwives in the Making on Facebook for an idea of what midwives talk about x

  2. I love your blog and am currently reading your book. Unfortunately, I am from the US so the educational path and such is much different than what you describe in the UK. Do you know of any American midwife blogs? I’ve tried searching online but most are very, very established in their careers and the things they write about are so far off from where I am in my journey to be a midwife.

    • Hi Alicia,

      Great question! I don’t know many American midwife blogs sadly, though MidwifeThinking is a great Australian one, and SaraWickham.com is one of my favourite UK ones. Please do let me know if you find any good American midwife blogs, I’m always on the lookout! x

  3. Hi Ellie,
    I just wanted to share a bit of the furore that is occurring in the Queensland state of Australia. Obstetricians are moaning about the poor outcomes etc etc of midwifery led care. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/ama-queensland-seeks-urgent-change-to-way-maternal-services-delivered-in-queensland/news-story/5fa372d6478e4cdbba9de7977df224e1
    I thought we were passed all this but apparently not.

  4. Pille

    Hi Ellie,
    I’m a first year student midwife, and would eventually like to work as a midwife on First Nations reserves in Canada. Do you have any contacts who have trained as a midwife in the uk and moved over to Canada? Or do you yourself have any idea how the transfer would work?

    • Rachel Wild

      Hi Ellie – if you particularly want to work for First Nations’ families I would first contact some of the Aboriginal health organisations or governance bodies to scope out how they would see a midwife from the UK working out. Perhaps you have First Nations/ Aboriginal heritage yourself, but if not you’d need to consider the implications of working as a outsider in communities that have a history of colonialism harming their existing birth cultures. e.g. http://www.naho.ca/midwifery/ also your immigration and work visa would be through the Canadian government but perhaps you could also ask permission of First Nation government for the area you’d like to practice in?

  5. Miroslava

    Hi Ellie, i am a second year student of midwifery in Slovakia.
    I would like to ask you, what’s your posture for needs of women who are in puerperium ? What is your opinion for lactation and sports activities in postpartal period?

    Thanks, for answer 🙂

  6. Alysia

    Hello, I have always been interested in midwifery at young age. At the moment, I am a Senior in high school and I am writing a paper on a career that I am interested in. I am required to have an interview with a midwife for research for my pages.Would you mind if I interviewed you for the role?

  7. Keeley

    I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to win a free month of your personal statement school! I’m a 33(nearly!) year young working Mum of 2, retaking 2 of my GCSE’s, training to become a breastfeeding peer supporter, and trying to save as much as I can for 3 years without a wage and shed loads of student debt, with a mortgage! I’ve got your book which I LOVE! But I am still struggling on how to even get started!!! And what experience I have that’s relevant enough to be worthy of going on my statement to stand out! I’ll be applying in Sept 19, to hopefully get a place in Sept 2020, so this would be amazing!!! Pretty pretty pretty please!!!! ??????

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