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'Mums-To-Be Recognise Me!' We Talk To Honeyz Star Mariama Goodman - The Singing Midwife!

14/08/2014 16:54 | Updated 22 May 2015

It's not often you meet a midwife who also has 'pop star' on her CV.

Mariama Goodman, 36, found fame as a member of girlbands Solid HarmoniE and Honeyz. When she quit the latter after two years in the group she headed to uni, qualified as a midwife and has been practising for seven years.

When Honeyz were offered the chance to reform as part of the Big Reunion TV show - which resulted in a countrywide stadium tour - Mariama used all her annual leave for 2013 and headed out on the road with her bandmates and other groups including Liberty X, 911, B*witched and Atomic Kitten.

When we chat to Mariama (now a mum to her young daughter), we get her on a rare morning off, rather than on a midwife day or a pop star day. It might sound pretty bonkers, but it works! The Big Reunion series (shown on ITV) and the tour have been a huge success, and Mariama has carried on her day job in the NHS.

"I was initially worried when the show was first aired," she tells us, her two-year-old daughter pottering around in the background. "The camera crew came into the ward to film me at work and it was like, boom! - two worlds colliding. Some of my colleagues had no idea I was once a singer, so it was quite a shock!

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Then, slowly, women who were coming in were looking at me like, 'I know you!'

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"I was genuinely worried it would make some of the mums I was seeing uncomfortable, which is the last thing I wanted to do, but it hasn't seemed too. Most of them just want to chat about it which is nice. It's something fun and different to talk about when they're in for a long one!

"We have TVs in the wards and rooms and I was so paranoid the show would be on when I was on shift! I would have had to turn it off - I couldn't have that playing."

It wasn't just the reaction on the ward Mariama had to consider when she signed up for the Big Reunion. When she joined Honeyz she was a replacement member for original singer Heavenli, who had left, and things weren't a smooth as the band's harmonies.

"When I joined the band it was like starting secondary school half way through the year - a bit like walking into class where you don't know anyone, naked - the stuff of nightmares!

"It was a really strange time. With Solid HarmoniE I had enjoyed a lot of success, but it was mainly in America and I wasn't necessarily known so much in the UK. I was almost treated like I should be grateful to be in the band - they were the stars and I was just joining them. There was a divide and because you spend every waking hour with your bandmates, every day became a struggle, and I walked away.

"When we joined back up for the Big Reunion it was me and original members Heavenli and Celena. The meet up between the other two after so long was like a therapy session! It was very emotional for us all after everything that had happened, but it needed to be done. Everything was out in the open and we were much better for it."

So, why the move from singing to delivering in the first place?

"When I left Honeyz I was suddenly left with the question 'what do I do now?'. My whole life had been in music and I needed to make a decision on the next stage.

I was always fascinated by babies and children, and really wanted a job that had an emotional reward - just like singing has. So I applied to university to become a midwife. I hadn't studied since doing my GCSEs and I was so surprised when I got accepted - I almost fell over! They were actually going to let me do this?!

"I was 25/26 when I started studying, and did a three year course to get qualified. It has changed now, and if I was applying today I would need to do an access course. It was strange learning again after so long, especially the academic side of things - essay writing again was interesting!

"The great thing about the training was it was so practical and hands-on, right from the word go. I remember my first delivery when I was a student was with a midwife who I was shadowing. When the baby was delivered I had my hands on the baby's head, with the midwife's hands on top of mine as the baby came out.

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​It was so emotional being there and helping to deliver new life. I got really teary and had to say sorry to the mum for crying!

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"There was a real feeling of 'yes, this is where I need to be, this is right'."

Mariama works as a community midwife in the NHS, which is a three-fold role. "I run my clinic doing antenatal appointments, work on a delivery ward, including home births and post-birth care in the community, vising new mums and their babies," she tells us.

"I'm also on call a few times a week. My favourite bit has to be the deliveries. Handing a new baby over to their mum is just incredible. It's the money shot of midwifery, so to speak!"

"I also love the antenatal clinic, especially when mums and dads come in for a first scan and hear their baby's heartbeat. That moment is really special. Some mums come in and they haven't really got bumps, or haven't felt movements, but at that moment they really feel pregnant and recognise their tummy has a baby growing in it."

Five years after qualifying, Mariama gave birth to her daughter, who is now two. Was she a relaxed first time mum-to-be after years delivering babies?

"When I was pregnant my job was a real double edged sword. It was great not to worry about common things mums are concerned about - bump size, cramps etc, but at the same time I knew when to really worry. I know that sometimes things go wrong. Thankfully those times are very rare, and overall I had a problem-free pregnancy."

With contractions, crownings and c-sections part of the day job, turning back the clock and becoming a glamorous member of the Honeyz all over again must have been strange?

"I had a ball doing the Big Reunion and going on tour - it was like going on a really fun holiday from life! We all knew each other from way back and had so many shared memories. There were 26 pop stars on one tour bus, who were all back living the dream!

"We also have about five million kids between us so it really helped that we understood and supported each other as parents.

"The three of us (the three Honeyz who starred in the Big Reunion) hadn't ever sang together before we did the show and tour as we had a line up change, so it was interesting to see if our voices and writing style worked. And they have! We have been in the studio recording and I am loving doing that again. I fit it all in around my set days at work so at the moment it's working really well. It's a wonderful bonus to my day job, which I absolutely adore.

"The singing future? Who knows...."

The Honeyz are touring as part of the Big Reunion. For Christmas tour dates, tickets and further info, visit Ticketmaster.co.uk and Itv.com/thebigreunion.

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