Midwifery HEALTH WARNING!

I know that like I was, you are probably incredibly keen to become a student midwife, it’s all you can think about, you are constantly reading about midwifery, and talking about it, the prospect of applying to University is keeping you awake at night, rehearsing your interview over and over. You have nightmares where you forget to paste your Personal Statement into your UCAS form. I get it. But before I go any further, and talk about the amazing privilege it is to work with women, I have to post a health warning.

Midwifery is a tough course, with a steep learning curve, and is a bit like doing a full-time job, with a full-time degree in the evenings on top of it. While you are on placement, you may find you are ‘working’ 30 hours a week, attending Uni for a study day for 7 hours a week, and producing around 4 major assignments a year in your spare time. On top of that, there is also ‘homework’ or directed study to do between study days. Every single Uni day and every single placement day is compulsory, so if you are sick, or miss a day, you have to catch it up in your own time before the end of the year. If you miss a study day, you have to produce a piece of written work which shows you have understood everything that was taught on that day.

If you have children, and/or a partner, your family time is going to be seriously affected by the course, and achieving a work/life balance that suits everyone can be damn hard work. The other mature students that I know have fantastic family support, grandparents helping out with the kids 2 or 3 days a week, partners taking career breaks to mind the kids, and this support is essential, as you will be working unsociable hours, maybe starting at 7am, and finishing at 7.30pm, with travel time on top, as well as quite a few nights, and (most) weekends.

All the students I know, even the more youthful ones, say that the course takes something from your personal life, it can’t all survive intact, something’s got to give. We’ve all experienced quite a bit of anxiety as a result of the course, and we all have our own ways of dealing with that.

I just want you to be as prepared as you can be, so that you don’t find you have to drop out because you didn’t realise the strain that the course would put on you. In upcoming blogs, I’m going to talk about ways of planning your life so that the course is more manageable, I’m not in the business of putting anybody off, we need all the passionate and committed midwives we can get!

Why did I become a student midwife?

So you’re thinking about studying midwifery – well, you’re not alone. The interest in midwifery as a career has grown enormously in the last few years, fuelled at least in part by ‘Call the Midwife’ and ‘One Born Every Minute’. Both these shows have given us an insight into the kind of work a midwife does. Call the Midwife because of the community-based midwifery it shows, and the lovely home births, and One Born Every Minute because of the way it shows real people reacting to emotional situations.

346 - Liam Kincheon Lander

346 - Liam Kincheon Lander (Photo credit: eyeliam)

I have seen a lot of my own experiences in One Born, and I especially enjoy seeing the midwives talking to the women, their partners and mums, having a joke together, getting everybody relaxed, and making the experience less scary. I’m a second year Midwifery student, and that’s my only qualification for writing this blog, I’ve been there. The desperate desire to make it onto the course, the incredibly long process of applying, and waiting to hear if you’ve got an interview, followed by the wait for the offer or the brush-off. The hours in between spent second-guessing your own personal statement, and sharing your fears and worries with other people in the same position on blogs and internet forums.

So why did I decide to abandon my fairly well-paid job in administration for the call of midwifery? I’d had enough of a job that was both high-stress and extremely boring, I wanted to make a difference. And now I do.