Every time you walk into work as a midwife you’re aware that you’re responsible for not just one but two peoples lives. A mother and her baby.
It’s 4am, you’re tired, you’ve not eaten and you’ve managed a few swigs of water or the odd slurp of some luke warm tea yet you’re expected to perform as you would at 4pm after a lovely relaxing lunch and a good nights sleep. Oh and you’re basic rate is £14.90 per hour - as a senior midwife.
There’s no other job on this earth that would give me the satisfaction midwifery does but many of us are struggling financially. Unless you progress to a manager etc those on the front line delivering babies aren’t paid enough. The pay is not reflective of the responsibility.
I read stories in the press about midwives and they are often rather negative. This is no sob story but to be a good midwife you need a unique set of “skills”. You are also an autonomous practitioner and therefore have the ability to make decisions about womens care pathways.
You need to be the comforter, the adviser, the rock solid support, the expert, well informed and up to date with the latest clinical guidelines, the snappy decision maker, prioritise perfectly, the shoulder to cry on, the bed maker, the barer of bad news, the barer of good news and finally a trusted professional day and night, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year or bank holidays - with a smile.
In one hour you may feel pure elevation and joy then pure sadness and shock. Luckily the latter is less common but my point is, it happens. We go home to our friends and family but no one really understands what your day has been like. Not only are you responsible for those two people everything you do and advise has a knock on affect to her family. Having a baby is one of the biggest things a woman will ever do and it only happens a few times in her life time so you are in some way responsible for her loved ones.
I love my job beyond belief. I would not have it any other way. My purpose in life is to care for and support women and their babies but my point is, it’s a unique, responsible and impactful job yet us midwives are often spoken ill of. One headline I remember is “heartless midwives contribute to postnatal depression”
Let me get this straight, you don’t go into midwifery because you’re heartless and you certainly have no intention whatsoever of causing harm. You’re overworked, underpaid and often underappreciated.
Midwives and mothers have the same goal.
Pregnant women, newborn babies and new mothers are some of the most precious yet vulnerable member’s of society. Midwives are on the front line caring for all three yet there’s a national shortage of us. Shouldn’t we be promoting this job? Empowering people to choose such an incredible career, intensives and shouldn’t we be supporting midwives and their families too?
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