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7Jan

Each month, we’ll be chatting to our community to get to know you, as you share your stories and tips to help inspire each other. Today we are talking to Julia, our newest team member at talkhealth and qualified midwife.

Julia talks to us about what inspired her to become a midwife, her time working for the NHS and how she can support our members.

Hi Julia, to start, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into midwifery?

I first got into midwifery after having the most amazing and positive experience giving birth to my first son over 23 years ago. Strangely enough, prior to having my own child I had absolutely no experience of dealing with or even handling a newborn! It was such an amazing and empowering experience, though. From that moment on, I felt I had a true calling to the profession.

I spent the next seven years attending night college, in order to gain the necessary qualifications to go on to study at degree level to follow my chosen career path. I juggled being a mum alongside part time work as a Health Care Assistant in various nursing agencies, psychiatric units and hospitals to gain an understanding of the caring profession. 

I graduated from Bournemouth University in 2006 and immediately gained employment at my local NHS hospital trust. I worked first as a band 5 Hospital Midwife, later being promoted to a band 6 senior midwife which involved looking after women antenatally, during labour and postnatally.

I was also a mentor for a number of Student Midwives who were starting their careers, which involved supervising their practice and giving marks for any practical modules in their university work.

What was your experience as a midwife like?

Being a Midwife was the most amazing and rewarding career imaginable. Though as I’m sure you can imagine, it was often very hard work with long hours. 

To be honest, the shift work actually became even more difficult to overcome as I got older and over time the unsocial hours took their toll on my family life.

Inevitably I was always working over Christmas day or New Year’s Eve too, which my children accepted but I could often see that they were sad about.
Though I often came out of work feeling elated and valued, in the later years I actually found it quite pressured environment to work in day in day out.

I would often not be able to sleep for worrying over how a birth was going that I had had to leave due to my shift ending, and regularly ring in to work in order to check up on my patients and how they had got on with their labours.

What parts did you enjoy the most?

I always loved the excitement of being at the birth of a baby. For me, I felt the most amazing privilege and honour in being the first one to greet a new-born baby.

Occasionally, I would also work on either the antenatal or postnatal ward where I enjoyed assisting new mums that were struggling with breastfeeding. The great thing about the role was that no two days were ever the same. I loved meeting so many different women and their partners. 

Though always particularly emotionally difficult, I also found caring for parents going through the trauma of losing their baby during pregnancy particularly rewarding and often worked in the bereavement suite at the hospital.

What skills & qualifications do you need to become a midwife? 

All midwives must complete a university degree which also offers your registration to practice in the UK through the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) which will give you a direct path into the career now.

There is a minimum standard of education to meet along with recent evidence of study at the relevant level, alongside experience of working in a health care or caring environment.

As well as the written work you will have to work alongside Midwife Mentors and be signed off in all areas of your practice so it’s not just about being good at passing exams! All student midwives have to competently deliver a minimum of 40 babies before they can qualify.

I would suggest go along to a university open day and find out about the cost of completing a degree and register.

I would say that communication skills are the most important part of the job as well as the ability to cope with sometimes stressful situations.

Sounds like you’ve had a great experience overall and you really know a lot about midwifery! Can you explain what your new role at talkhealth will be?

My exciting new role as an Administrator will involve looking after all the forums and blogs on the talkhealth website. This includes communicating directly with the community, answering any queries and responding to posts and comments. 

Also, I am about to be involved in an exciting new Facebook live discussion about Menopause in the new year. 

Following our successful Menopause Twitter Chat, it will be a great opportunity to interact with our members on the platform and to get to know more about some of the issues that women are facing when going through this stage in their life.

How do you think you can bring your experience to your new role at talkhealth? How can you use your knowledge to help our community?

I think that my experience working as a front-line NHS worker can bring a wealth of experience to this role. I believe that I can help signpost our members to the relevant support programmes, clinics and blogs, in order to help them receive the support that they require. 

We’re looking forward to having you on board! Finally, what are your top three tips for:

1) Someone who is pregnant

I would always advise anyone who is pregnant to listen to their body, and to eat healthily (but not as an excuse to over-eat as if for two!)

2) Someone in labour

I would always say as a general rule, try to stay at home as long as possible where you are most comfortable. Very often women want to get to hospital ASAP but it can often impede the labour and slow things down. 

As going into a medicalised environment often sends women into the ‘flight or fight’ mode which in turn sends a dose of adrenalin around the body.

The fear factor can play a large part in slowing a labour down unfortunately, but you should always get checked out if anything feels wrong, you haven’t felt the baby move for a while or if you are just not coping at home.

3 ) The first two weeks post-birth

Its an old one I’m afraid, but so true! ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’.
So often women worry about visitors and members of the family getting to meet the new arrival etc. but I would always say the visitors can fit in around your schedule. If you have offers to help out, always take them!

Things can always be a little bit tricky at first, but I would say don’t plan anything but let your baby dictate what happens. Often new parents can worry about routine but there is no routine at all in the first few weeks and its lovely to just have time as a couple to bond as a family and if anything is worrying you just ask your Midwife or Health Visitor.

I would also say expect to feel a little down around days 3-5…its normal to have a touch of the baby blues around this time but if you feel it’s a little more than that please do let someone know how you are feeling.

Great tips, thank you for sharing. Finally, what advice would you give for someone who is looking to go into midwifery? 

I would always say look into it very carefully and try to get a feel for the reality and responsibility of being a midwife before you embark on this career path as it is really a vocation rather than a job.

Do your research online and in publications to get a balanced view of what is involved. If possible, talk to a midwife or a student midwife!

It is an amazing feeling delivering a baby but I would say the majority of the job is about caring for women during their pregnancy; the birth is a only a small part.

Have a think about the hours that you will be expected to work and the way that may impact on your friends and family, children especially. Childcare for the nightshifts you will be expected to work, even as a student can be an issue for mums wanting to go into midwifery.

 

 

  

talkhealth

This is the talkhealth blog spot, where we post on a wide range of health conditions, topics, issues and concerns. We post when we see something that we believe is of interest to our visitors. Our posts do not reflect any particular view or standpoint of talkhealth, but are merely to raise attention and awareness.

One Response to talkhealth meets Julia, qualified midwife & our new member of the team

  1. Malia

    That’s a very detailed and informative write-up. thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us. This is very helpful to me. I would love to have an update on recent posts from your blog. Thank you

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