Life as a First Year Student Midwife

This last year has been equally the best but hardest year of my life. At the end of August 2016 I started training to be a Midwife, something I had worked so hard to be able to do. There are many misconceptions about Midwives and Midwifery, most people seem to think that all we do is catch babies, or alternatively drink tea, eat cake and cuddle babies. Admittedly during the year I have done all those things, but that barely skims the surface of what we do. Midwives look after women throughout the whole of their pregnancy, running long antenatal clinics and answering hundreds of phone calls of anxious women. We can take blood and give injections. We are there during labour and birth. We also look after women and new born babies for a minimum of 10 days postnatally, among so much more. We are the ultimate feminists.

Obviously this isn’t something one can learn from a textbook, my university year was split between time at university to time on ‘placement’ when we’re out in the real world, learning on the job, this is a 50/50 split. Before I went on my first placement I was at university, this time in the year was probably the most ‘normal university’ experience I had. I moved into uni halls with 5 other midwives, I participated in freshers week and I attended lectures. It took me a while to get used to the new way of learning, suddenly so independent and I had to get my head around referencing! I met so many new people and made friends for life. At this point, the thought of actually becoming a midwife didn’t really seem real, it only clicked when we were given our uniform… this was such a proud and exciting day, we looked grown up and professional, I think my mum actually cried when she saw me in it for the first time.

It soon became time to go out on our first ever placement with the community midwives, nervous was an understatement, none of us felt ready, even though we had been learning basics for 8 weeks, we all felt like we knew nothing. In hindsight we did know nothing, but that was how its meant to be, the bulk of learning is on placement, as scary as that is. My first day was on Halloween, I distinctly remember this because all my friends at ‘normal university’ were out on the town that night, whereas I was in bed at 8:30 utterly, utterly exhausted! At first I found placement tough, I was working full time (which I wasn’t used to coming straight from school) and learning every second, I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted every day. Luckily I loved every second. I found everything I was learning fascinating, I was gaining new skills every day and pushed out of my comfort zone constantly! believe me when I tell you this degree is hard work, so much so I feel as though if you didn’t absolutely adore the career, the degree and the qualification would be unobtainable. There were times on placement where I felt lonely, even though I saw people everyday at work, I barely saw anyone outside of work and my family, and even when I had time to myself there was uni work to be completed and obviously recovery from the previous week, there is no time for a social life when training in midwifery, but that is a sacrifice I’m willing to make!

As the year went on I gained so much confidence in my skills, so much so I was given a lot more independence. The days of observation were over, I now felt like an asset to the team. My favourite part of the job is undoubtedly the people you meet and the lives you influence. It is honestly the best feeling in the world to know that you have influenced someone’s life in such a positive way. As humans we can tell when people are genuine and it is the best feeling in the world when someone says thank you with all their heart, so much so we can see it in their eyes. We often get cards and gifts for the kindness we show, but the best gift is that look they give you when you say goodbye.

These have just been a few of my thoughts throughout the year, I could have written so much more! I truly adore midwifery, as tough as it is, it is most definitely worth it. It’s been the best year of my life and I look forward to another 2 years of training and my whole career ahead of me.

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