Be Inspired Series
What is your job and what does it entail?
I work as a midwife, midwives are usually women, but not always. I look after and support other women during their pregnancy, childbirth and the early life of the baby. It gives me a unique opportunity to work very closely with women to establish relationships with them and their families. I also work closely with other members of the health care team.
What would an average day involve?
Every day differs, no two days are the same for any midwife or woman. I work in a busy maternity unit in Antrim. As a midwife I work in all areas of the maternity unit, however at present I work in delivery suite.
At the start of the day the midwife who has been caring for the woman hands over her care to me and I introduce myself to her and her birth partner. I will spend my whole shift caring for women in labour, during the birth experiences and the early hours with their new baby. At the end of the shift, I often go home tired but elated.
How did you get into this line of work and what training have you needed?
I have always wanted from a young age to be involved in the caring profession. Before I was a midwife I was a nurse for three years, working in surgical theatres. Following this, I took my BSc in midwifery studies at Queen's University, Belfast. I spent 18 months studying theory and practical education to develop the skills to become a midwife.
People think of midwives as being there when a baby is born, how involved are they with mothers when they are pregnant. The midwife is involved from the very beginning of a pregnancy and sometimes even before a pregnancy starts, giving advice and guidance to women and families who need it. During the pregnancy the midwife would have close contact with the woman, providing antenatal care, which involves monitoring and screening both the woman's and the baby's wellbeing.
Another aspect of the midwife's role is to provide advice and support on a range of topics, including health promotion, preparation for birth and parenthood.
What advice would you give someone keen to become a midwife?
I love my job; it is such a privilege to be involved so closely with women and their families at such an important time in their life. I would encourage anyone who thinks that they might like to be a midwife to visit a job fair, talk to women who have had babies, and talk to midwives about their job and experiences.
Anyone considering this should also remember that they need to be prepared for times when things are not straightforward. Along with the nice side of delivering babies, we do need to care for mothers who suffer loss and this can be emotionally challenging, but nonetheless worthwhile. It is good to know that you have helped a woman and her family through what is a difficult time in their lives.
What sort of personality or qualities make a good midwife?
You need to be caring and compassionate and able to instill confidence in women by the way you carry out your job. This requires integrity and honesty, you need to be able to talk to and to listen to people and work alongside them. You need to be very upbeat and able to motivate them and this means you have to be flexible.
What is International day of the midwife?
The aim of the day is to celebrate midwifery and to bring awareness of the importance of midwives' work to as many people as possible. This is done in many different ways, such as holding workshops, setting up stalls in public places, or articles such as this, or simply getting together with other midwives to talk about our experiences.
What are the main themes or goals of the campaign?
To make people aware that the world needs midwives.
To raise the importance of the role of the midwife in relation to maternal health and wellbeing.
To raise money for overseas' projects.
To improve maternal health and the outcomes for those mothers and babies in developing countries.
To highlight and raise awareness of the worldwide inequalities, it is worth noting that every minute a woman dies somewhere in the world during pregnancy and childbirth.
What piece of advice have you been given that has aided you in your work?
Do your best. Treat everyone you care for as you would like to be treated yourself.
Who or what has inspired you in your work and life?
My parents would be my biggest inspiration; they always believed in me and encouraged me.
At work I have to say I work with a great group of midwives and doctors, we work well as a team.
What are your interests outside of work?
My interests are spending time with my husband Conor and my little daughter Aimee-Rose.
I also enjoy socialising.