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Archive for July, 2017

Retired

Back in the spring I took the plunge and entered the next phase of my life. I retired from midwifery.

I had been an NHS midwife for over 20 years. For as long as I can remember I had imagined being a midwife. When I was a young child, in the ’50’s, my Mother was a District Nurse/Midwife in the East End of London (shades of Call the Midwife). I have memories of being transported around on the back of her bike. Of being in strange peoples front rooms, coal fires, hearth rugs and lino. I would be sitting there with anxious men whilst my Mother was busy ‘working’. I would be given glasses of Idris orange juice, fall asleep and then be woken, to be wrapped up and positioned in my seat on the back of her bike. Later we moved and then I would only be exposed to Mum’s work during school holidays when I would sit at the back of chilly halls whilst she demonstrated how to bath babies. As I grew up I would ‘help’ out at antenatal clinics, collecting urine specimens and changing the sheets on couches. In our house the bookcase had a shelf dedicated to obstetric books. I would pull these large dull looking tomes out and secret myself behind the sofa. There I would turn straight to the black and white photos, all gruesome images of specimens in glass jars, preserved for posterity in formaldehyde. Pictures of births demonstrating adverse outcomes, for women and infants. In Mum’s bedside cabinet she kept her RCM journals. I was always an early riser, and apparently an early reader as well. I would steal into her bedroom and pull a magazine out, absorbing all aspects of Midwifery.

At 18 I started my SRN nursing, the only entry into midwifery at that time. I never wanted to be a nurse but until I was in my 30’s that was as far as I got, children intervened! Once my babies were old enough I undertook my midwifery training, worked in an obstetric unit for a few years and then fulfilled my career ambition, become a community midwife. Lucky me. The family I had always desired and my chosen profession.

In 2004 the next phase of my life commenced, I became a grandmother and by 2012 I had 8 of the little Rugrats!

In the course of my midwifery career I have been a hospital midwife; a teenage pregnancy midwife; a community midwife; a specialist VBAC midwife and a birth reflections midwife.

To the present day. In order to retire we had to sell the family home, we had lived there for 26 years, and down-size. Very traumatic, but always part of our plan. We have moved to a village and into a smaller house (not a problem), with a much, much smaller garden (big problem for me). We still live close to our family and I still participate in childcare. I didn’t want to ‘rest on my laurels’ so now volunteer at the local charity shop and am on the Parish Council. I have gone back to an activity from my youth, ballet, and I love it. I have about 30 years on all other participants but they are very kind to me!

Do I miss midwifery? Oh yes, every day. Legally I am now prevented from exercising my skill. If I had been a hairdresser, car mechanic or most other trades I could still help people out, as a retired midwife, no longer employed and with no insurance I cannot, I should not even check a pregnant woman’s blood pressure. One of my delights was to help out friends and relatives by providing their antenatal care or just being able to check everything was okay if they were concerned. My practical midwifery skills were just deleted earlier on this year, and I grieve for them.

I don’t miss the bureaucracy, the idiocy and the stress. It is these aspects I shall continue to comment on. I still have many threads connecting me to the maternity services and I have every intention of remaining up to date.

That’s it for today but I shall return. Soon.

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