Thank you if you're working Christmas. We're all impressed and comforted by the people who keep caring for us. There's sacrifice involved and we don't underestimate it.
Some students and midwives shared their thoughts on Christmas time with me and I thought you might want to see. I asked them how they coped and this is what they said (picnic in the lounge anyone? 😉 )
'I practice smiling, telling myself I am empowering my women and their families! I’m an enhanced midwife so my clientele includes safeguarding/MH/teenagers/asylum seekers/learning disabilities/domestic abuse/substance misuse.
And let’s not forget alcohol and cake/chocolates haha! Merry Xmas x'
'By reading! Getting lost in an evocative novel in another time and place. Releasing and processing emotion and memories that way! Kate, student midwife.'
'I’m going to drink lots of gin! On a more serious note, I’m going to cherish every precious moment I get with my beautiful babies. I’ve taken the pressure off everyone this year by saying we aren’t making a traditional Christmas dinner as we all spend so much time stressing about it and then precious time on Christmas Day is spent in a kitchen cooking. Instead we are having a picnic on the lounge floor with the children and I’ll be soaking up every second (whilst in my PJs with an all important gin)! '
' - How to "keep afloat" during the Christmas season? Spend the Christmas season nourishing your body with good food, thoughtful conversations and reflect on the year. What was my midwifery highlight? What was my personal life highlight? And look closely at the balance between our midwifery lives and our personal lives. It needs to be balanced! I believe the happiest, most productive midwives have many passions besides midwifery to keep them refreshed in their midwifery roles. But sometimes it can be very easy to have that balance 'out of whack'. Spend the Christmas period planning for the next year and 're-balancing' where necessary. Sometimes filling up our own cup doesn't mean we're selfish, because we need a full cup to give to others. And empty cup has nothing to offer.
Have a beautiful Christmas, Meg.'
'I stay afloat with lots of coffee, and I finally started seeing a counselor (online). The stress of everything has been getting to me and as much as I’d love to connect with other women in person, it just hasn’t been happening. Its been a good release. It’s a hard gig trying to be a mum and a midwife. ' - Allie
' I start my midwifery degree in September! But a massive thank you to all the midwives out there who are working so so hard this Christmas, everything you do is appreciated. True superheroes.'
- Mia Gwynne - Smith 🙂
'I will be working Christmas on Delivery Suite, very happy , I really love it!! ' - Amaia
'I keep afloat by focusing on the positives and the women. It's easy to dwell on everything that's wrong with the system. And believe you me I indulge in that plenty but when it's really tough I find focusing on the tiny things you can do to hone in on individual women in a system that just doesn't, makes all the difference. A section that shouldn't have been a section… When everyone is focused on the baby, I focus on the woman, hold her hand, explain what's going on, tell her how amazing she is for having just birthed a baby etc etc. In a booking where she's been waiting for hours, listen to her, tell her she's amazing for getting this far and she's well able for what's to come. Knowing that these tiny insignificant things are night and day. Knowing that while the broken system ties your hands and restricts your practice, there are some small ways you can make a difference. Seeing your very sick women from antenatal come back to a postnatal clinic with a beautiful baby… These tiny things all keep me afloat, especially at this time of year when inductions are Christmas crackers.' - Deborah
Here's to 2019 being amazing for care and I'm hoping midwifery and the NHS in general will receive much more funding and political support.
Love to everyone, from Ellie and all the midwives/students involved in this post xxx