Your pregnancy, your midwife, your choice


Life and news from one to One Midwives

17 Feb

My Journey to Midwifery by Sue Collinson

This is me!!! I was about three years old and already had my career mapped out!  Unlike many midwives, I never had a ‘thunderbolt’ moment when I suddenly thought ‘Hey, I want to be a midwife!!!’.... Midwifery has always been in me – an innate part of me and I never once contemplated any another career choice.  It sounds corny but, to me, midwifery was a calling and is just part of who I am and where I am going.  So, with this in mind, I left school and started secretarial college!!! Go figure!! At 16 years old all I wanted was to earn my own money and I could earn a whole £27.00 a week doing a Youth Training Scheme! However, it didn’t last for long. I hated it and yearned to do something more meaningful with my life.  I thought I’d messed up by not going down the nursing route (there was no direct midwifery entrants back then) so did the next best thing.  I changed training schemes and did a City and Guilds in Health and Social Care and it was amazing! I worked in nurseries and schools and with a child minder. Eventually, after 18 months and a whopping wage increase to £35.00 in my second year, I secured employment in a nursery.   I was in heaven! I loved working with children and was truly happy – for a while.  In my heart of hearts I knew midwifery was waiting for me but I didn’t know how, or whether I could do it.

My midwifery dreams were put on hold for a couple of years whilst I was busy being a mum.  First to come along was Rachael weighing 8lb 9oz followed by Christopher three years later weighing 9lb 2oz.  There was an older student midwife who delivered my son and the yearning of becoming a midwife stirred once again.  I bombarded the poor woman with questions about her age, what qualifications she needed, where she was studying and more importantly, how could I become a midwife……

Christopher was 4 years old when I decided to get the qualifications pertinent to midwifery.  I studied part time during the day and worked as a barmaid of an evening – increasing my social skills and earning money along the way!  I then discovered that universities favoured students who had studied on an Access to Health course so I applied for that and was fortunate to be accepted.

One of my tutors was a midwife and she fuelled my passion to become a midwife on a daily basis. I was like a sponge soaking up all of her midwifery stories and experiences.  It was exhilarating and actually WANTED to go to college to learn!!  She told us on numerous occasions that midwifery was a very competitive profession and that rejection is high simply due to the high caliber of applicants and sheer number of midwifery candidates.  This didn’t deter me one little bit.  If anything, it made me more determined and I began to look for ways to stand out from the crowd – so I joined the nurse bank at the local acute trust.

This was NOT what I wanted to do!  I emptied commodes, cleaned commodes, made beds, handed out lunches, fed patients who wouldn’t do it themselves, assisted patients to the bathroom, bathed patients, and basically fetched and carried for the overworked nurses on the ward.  By golly it was HARD! But, once again, it made me determined to gain precious experience of working in a hospital setting and gave me a better chance of being accepted onto my midwifery course......and accepted I was!!!

I remember my interview as though it was yesterday and I was an absolute bag of nerves! However, the other applicants were ALSO a bag of nerves so I didn’t feel quite so bad!  Waiting for the acceptance/rejection letter was torture but it was soooo worth it when the letter started with ‘we are pleased to inform you that your recent application to study midwifery has been accepted’. The memory is etched in my mind and will stay with me forever!

The feeling of elation was short lived when I discovered I was pregnant again.  Don’t get me wrong, I was absolutely thrilled beyond words to discover I was expecting again and even more overjoyed when I discovered that there was not one but two babies  but bitterly disappointed that, for me, my aspirations of becoming a midwife were put on hold for another year..... This, of course, left my mind when my beautiful baby boys were born. First Harry weighing 6lb 12oz and then Elliot weighing in at a dainty 5lb 13 ½ oz.

Not to be deterred, I reapplied for midwifery when the boys were 9 months old and, to my absolute delight, I was once again accepted. 

Being a student midwife was wonderful, scary, exhilarating, exhausting, inspirational, frustrating and sheer hard work requiring every ounce of endurance I could muster. As time wore on, I realised that I “felt” more and more like a real midwife – still so much to learn and experience, but something had changed inside me. From just being interested in birth I wanted to know everything about everything to do with pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood and I had opinions on all the whys and wherefores (and still do).  Looking back, I’m still not sure how I survived those three years as a student midwife!  Juggling a house, a husband, shift work, assignments and four children was HARD but I was so proud of myself for achieving my dream and I finished university with a first class degree with honours – and honoured I truly was.

I qualified in the September and started work at the local acute trust in the October.  It was amazing and I loved every second of it!  As I neared the end of my six month temporary position I was extremely fortunate to secure employment in one of the largest maternity units in the UK and stayed there for 18 months gaining invaluable experience working as a rotational midwife on the antenatal ward, postnatal ward, labour ward, midwifery led unit and was even fortunate to work a stint on community.  It was whilst I was on community that I saw the benefits of continuity of care and the effects it had on the women I looked after and I wanted more!!! Unfortunately, my little stint on community was only temporary for 6 months and I was due to go back to being a rotational midwife in the main hospital.  I did NOT want to do this as at all so I enquired to One to One Midwives to see when they were recruiting as I knew they were based in the heart of the community and I knew this is where I wanted to be.

I have been working for One to One since November 2011 and feel that I have found my niche in midwifery.  It has been challenging at times and it has certainly stretched my midwifery knowledge to the max but it has been such a privilege to be a primary caregiver and I gain so much satisfaction from truly getting to know the women in my care throughout their pregnancy and beyond.  I have built up so many special bonds with not only the women but their families too and I’m not ashamed to say that I have shed a tear on numerous occasions when discharging my women! 

My passion for birth and pregnancy is constantly growing and I’m not sure it will ever stop! As long as there is more to be learned I will continue to grow and offer my services as a One to One midwife to the women of the Wirral and I look forward to meeting you on your journey.......

Anonymous commented on 27-Feb-2013 01:05 PM
Reading your story has renewed my hope that my dream to become a midwife after having a family, I've been worrying that I wouldn't be able to cope on top of family life as I have been out of education for a long time. I have four children age 10 and under and because I was taken out of school when I was 14 I have to start from scratch. I was planning to apply for the pre access course for this September as I'm 33 and not getting any younger but I realised that realistically I would probably be stretching myself too much and not be able to give my all as I'm also having some health problems. So I have decided to apply for next Sept instead as my youngest will be in school full time and I'm learning to drive at the moment so it will be much easier to get the kids to school and me to college then too. I'm determined to live my dream, thankyou for sharing your story.
Danielle commented on 07-Feb-2015 12:05 AM
I am just so inspired by your story, I want to no if you think its too late for me to become a midwife I've wanted to do it all my life but got pregnant at a young age and now I'm a mummy of 6 who are all my world I'm 29 with no GCSEs I want to be a midwife so much but where do I start? Thanks for reading love me xx

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