You probably know by now if you’ve read anything from my blog, Midwife Diaries, or anywhere elsewhere, that I’m an earnest person.
I know this because my little brother is my best friend, he’s basically me in character but male and he’s a vegan, Buddhist social worker in training.
It’s seems our family just produces people like us. Sorry.
We can really annoy those that think the best course of action is to just get on with things.
I can understand this, having had the odd shift co-ordinating a labour ward I know how incredibly demanding the job is.
Sometimes you just want to get on as the theatre list grows longer, you’re worried about the woman in room two as she could have a major PPH at any moment (history of this and precipitate births) and the women from the induction bay are getting angrier and angrier as you can’t progress their care safely.
And then there’s midwife Ellie (or similar) piping up about how we should use all the student’s names because otherwise it’s dehumanising and we should always be kind to each other and you’re thinking you know what’s dehumanising? I haven’t had a wee since before this shift started!
The thing is, there’s never a good time to discuss the culture in midwifery. It’s not a checklist item, put a plan together to stop bullying and it’s done, you have to keep trying to address it moment by moment. It’s been like this for any change in any culture.
Civil right activists in America were called ‘abolitionists’ and they were seen as incredibly irritating for preaching moral values about slavery.
There are many portrayals of suffragettes as screaming babies with rattles.
We’re standing on the shoulders of giants here. It’s pretty typical to face some push back when you start to unearth difficult truths.
But I’d so much rather be an earnest, heart wide open type of person who starts awkward, important conversations in line with what I believe, than a cool, faux confident person trying to be accepted by not speaking up.
There are a lot of vulnerable midwives and students who don’t have the luxury of forgetting about these issues because it’s really busy and demanding. Their confidence and careers are being eroded right now, so they have to consider why.
If we all end up working together supportively, there’ll be a bit more time left over to spend on clinical care. It’s an important topic - more sick days in the NHS are lost to stress than musculoskeletal problems.
We’ll cover a lot in this email series and hear from professionals, students and the research.
This ‘being annoying’ thing will need to be embraced if we’re going to make changes.
That's what I think anyway. Do you have a comment for me and the Bradford midwifery union? Reply to this address if so.
To kindness in midwifery,
P.S. Do you know someone who might like these messages?Share this with them, it'd be great to get this conversation to travel as far as possible so we can make changes. Of course, you can share your discount code with them as well, this gets you and your friends £4.99 off the Kindness Conference. It's 'KIND'.