It’s that time of year again! Aspiring midwives up and down the country (and further afield) are sat in front of their computers frantically typing their personal statements.
It’s lovely for me because my inbox fills up with questions from aspiring midwives and they have a lot of passion. These can be epic questions like ‘where on earth do I start if I want to be a midwife in the UK and I live in Switzerland?’ all the way to the simple ones like ‘what’s a cervix? This confuses me.’
(My favourite email to date had 'PLEASE HELP ME!!! DEATH BY STATEMENT!!' In the email subject line.)
Using good midwifery application technique is like finding and buffing up one of the paua shells I used to take home from the beach when I lived in New Zealand. If you shine them up just right, you get to see all their mother of pearl colours. A statement should showcase the best of you. There are lots of free resources on Midwife Diaries here, and here. And I’m hoping the resource I’m reviewing for you today will help too.
The really good book that landed in my lap written by Jackie Kietz*, Natural Childbirth Educator, Hynobirthing Instructor and Reflexologist, is ‘I’m Expecting a Baby’. There is a great range of information in this small volume, including everything from great pictures on what the cervix is and how it opens (this still fascinates me) to a whistlestop tour of the places women can choose to give birth (home, midwifery led units, birth centres, etc.)
Jackie has the experience to get her kind and gentle nature across in the way she delivers information and the book is insightful and supportive.
If you’re new to midwifery and wanting a basic, evidence based guide to labour, this book would be so worth your time. I would read this before getting into anything more complex if there’s anything about midwifery that confuses you.
It’s also great because it’s written from the point of view of a hypnobirthing teacher. You may not have come across hypnobirth before but you will as a student midwife and many of the hypnobirthing practices like staying calm around mothers, using positive language and respecting each mother’s experience will be very helpful.
In this respect, it’s a great book for student midwives as well. I can imagine popping out of an intense labour room for a cuppa and a breather and reaching into my bag for a pep talk on calmness and positivity from ‘I’m Expecting a Baby’.
It’s evidence-based, there are studies listed to follow if you ever want to know more and fascinating facts, some of which I’d forgotten, like skin to skin contact is associated with less post-partum haemorrhage.
It gives a good window into how otherworldly the experience of coming into labour ward must be for women as well. Bringing in your own pillow from home is always good, those starched NHS pillow cases never smell as good as your own and it’s these caring for your inner animal tips that as so key.
Informed choice is also explored, if you haven’t come across the BRAIN acronym, it’s worth looking it up. This is something some aspiring midwives don’t get across well in their statement, I think it’s because the concept of women making their own choices, as opposed to the medical team making choices for them, is still alien in our culture. And yet midwifery is all about advocacy.
There is a lack of judgement toward busy midwives and other NHS staff that makes Jackie’s writing mature yet approachable, she handles the hard balance very well.
And the best news? It’s free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited person (or you can sign up to this for a free month).
I hope this helps! If you’re a midwife or student midwife and you know of an aspiring midwife who could do with an excellent book on the basics that addresses kindness and informed choice too, consider ‘I’m Expecting a Baby’. It’s a good gateway drug for these midwifery books which hit things at a more detailed level.
A question to leave you with; what is one book you think everyone coming into midwifery should read? Leave me a comment letting me know!
Love, Ellie x
P.S. I’ve just trained up a crack team of students and midwives to help with the competitive application process. They are now available for coaching and unlike previous years, turn around time is often within a few days.
These professionals were chosen as I've worked with them for years and have gone through training within an inch of their sanity I suspect (sorry ladies, I'm passionate about doing the very best for every single aspiring midwife and that meant a hell of a lot of reading and personal feedback for you all. In fairness you all lapped it up!).
If you're struggling to choose the best of your qualities and experiences or wanting to catch the admissions tutors' attention with something in particular in your statement or interview, these are the people to work with!
Though we can't guarantee a place on a midwifery course and a refund couldn't be given for this reason, if you are in any way unhappy with your coaching or feel it didn't far exceed your expectations, a refund is what we'll do! This is a labour of love for us and I haven't had a single student do this yet but we are committed to our best work in every case.
For help with your personal statement or midwifery interview, email firstname.lastname@example.org
*I have no affiliation to Jackie but she did very kindly offer me a copy of her book for free. She's a jolly nice person and cares about women and babies to her core 🙂