I began my midwifery journey 4 years ago. I was the cliché pregnant women who saw the job a midwife does and thought, “I want to do that”. I’d spent 10 years as a qualified careers adviser, helping others to find their passions and I’d finally found mine.
Pregnancy was not an easy time for me, I changed from a confidant woman who was managing other people, to having difficulty managing my own life and feelings. It was everything I ever wanted but it didn’t feel like I was in control. I never stopped feeling completely amazed that I was growing a human. The journey the family takes through pregnancy is truly amazing and something that continues to astound and motivate me. The support I received from midwives and the wider community during this time, inspired me to take a 360 turn and change my life.
I applied to study when my son was 5 weeks old, I was so determined that this is what I wanted. I took along my expressed milk to an open day and sat in front of the Staffordshire University lecturers and thought, these women are amazing. I was lucky enough to be interviewed when he was 5 months old, and again even luckier to be offered an immediate place on the course. I could never have imagined the whirlwind journey I have been on since starting the degree. My life looks wholly different now than it did 4 years ago, I never expected it to take the turns it has, and yet I wouldn’t change it for the world.
During the first year, I found my feet and found the areas of midwifery that I loved. Meeting each woman and them allowing me to build and grow my skills still humbles me now. Pregnancy and childbirth is magic, beautiful, amazing and terrifying all at the same time. Managing shifts having never done shift work before, and having my first expereinces of childbirth and helping women to deliver babies was amazing. I worked hard and managed to do well in my first year, theoretically and practically. I was so proud of what I had achieved. I suffered a huge personal loss at the end of this year and it was hard to stay focused. Losing my Nan who I was very close to and who was proud of me was tremenddously hard.
During my second year, I focused on my skills and found that finding out and experiencing nursing placements helped to strengthen my skill set. I ended second year with 24 personal deliveries which was an amazing accomplishment. I was able to do an elective placement with the Powys midwives, my mentor was a male midwife, something I hadn’t experienced prior to this. The passion and care he showed the women he was caring for continues to be something I draw upon if I am feeling a need to refocus. Experiencing a 3am water birth, where the woman was totally focused and in control, having complete confidence in her own body as she was so well supported by her carers, is one of my favourite memories of this placement.
Life threw me another blow at the end of second year, the end of my long long term relationship, making me a single parent family. This made me rethink everything, and I wondered if I should carry on with the course. As I sat here literally months away for qualification I am thankful for everything (and for everyone I have around me) I have, that I carried on for my son and I. I couldnt have done this, without the support of the truly wonderful lecturers, and my family and friends. around me) I have, that I carried on for my son and I. I couldn’t have done this, without the support of the truly wonderful lecturers, and my family and friends.
Starting third year I had a completely different mind-set, I was so focused on the end goal that I decided to give everything my all. Having ended my delivery placement with 47 personal deliveries, 2 confidence cases and a whole load of confidence in myself again. I am now so excited for the next few months. I feel just so grateful to have been given this amazing experience. I have had some brilliant highs and some very low moments but overall the good times have outweighed and keep me coming back!
Every smile, hug and thankyou (and sometimes chocolate) from women and families makes everything worthwhile. Supporting people through the most amazing and sometimes devastating times of their lives is a gift that not too many people get to experience, and for this I am thankful.
To say it’s been hard work would be an understatement to say the least, the course is hard, it will strain every ounce of your physical and emotional resource. The battle to stay sane, be a good parent, be a good student and try to retain all the information you need to do this incredible job is no mean feat. Oh yes and the shifts, make sure you have shares in Cadbury (to eat and to give away thanking people for their support). However it is doable and you can do it. I am proof of that.
Get some good people around you and anything is possible. I am now looking forward to the next chapters of my life and looking back on all of the amazing experiences I have had.
Thank you firstly to the women and families I’ve cared for, for allowing me to do so. Thank you to the mentors and staff who unselfishly teach and give their patience to each student on their journey.
Thank you Staffordshire for being a supportive and inclusive University.
“Choose to focus your time energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and encourage you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.” Karen Salmansohn
Bec Keeble-Wilkinson, 3rd year, Midwifery Student