Today's post is from a student midwife called Sarah.
I’m in my 30’s and I’m still learning. I suppose I expected this journey to be one of hard work, emotional investment and self-discovery. When you think you know yourself, another challenge hits and sends you into a frenzy of self-doubt, as you learn how to cope with feelings you thought you’d left behind as a child. Mentors have a huge impact on us, they leave a lasting impression, we never forget how they made us feel and I wish they had all been kind. I’ve often thought a mentor is being ‘like this’ because they are fighting their own battles that I know nothing about and that’s ok. Maybe I’m just too nice and too kind, can you ever be too kind?
She’s popular, everyone seems to accept her but yet behind closed doors when it’s just her, and me she’s dismissive, impatient and I feel like a hindrance, not wanted and alone. I turn my attention to the
women, because it’s all about them. Their needs above my own, our conversations and their gratitude keep me going and I invest all of myself to them, I feel good. But with her, I’m silenced, my confidence is slowly eroded and I drive home to my family after shift to feel wanted again in my safe place and I have nothing left to give, I’m exhausted. Does she not remember what it’s like to be a student? I ask myself. I’m not cut out for this and its only the start, I need to learn how to cope better. I’ve been silenced and hurt but I want to learn and I feel frustrated and held back I’m capable of so much more, I’m still positive.
She beams me a smile, she calls me by my name and asks me how I am. She’s organised and her knowledge is encouraging. She demonstrates confidence in her practice and takes the time to explain things to me and the women we care for. I feel respected, listened to and positively challenged. This is stimulating and I’m excited. She puts me to the test and I pass, I’m thrilled and her feedback is positive, my confidence grows. She gives a little of her self and so do I. We are both mothers, wives, daughters and she’s been where I am, It's so hard, I remember it well, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else now, I’m doing it for the women and I believe in them. You’re going to be a fantastic midwife, she said. I’ve felt nurtured and part of a proper mentor-student partnership, sharing research, passion and ideas. My confidence is back up at the top because she invested her time and belief in me and I feel so capable by just being me. Mentor student-relationships can break you down or build you up in clinical practice and I’ve learnt that the extraordinary ones certainly cross our paths when we need them the most.
Mentors, we know you're doing the most important job in the world, bar none (ok, a little hyperbole there I suppose but in my world it's true).
How can we support more of the good teaching and less of the poor? We'll explore this and many other questions at the Kindness Conference.
To kindness in midwifery,