Faculty: Health, Social Care & Education
Department: School of Nursing and Midwifery
BSc (Hons) Midwifery
Category: Nursing and midwifery
2 October 2015
As I write this entry to my blog I am sat under a blanket, with a drink. Both of these facts are important when trying to explain the importance of self-care as a student midwife.
Undertaking degree-level work whilst working a full time job is no walk in the park. This course is challenging; physically (when you have been on your feet for 12-14 hours) and mentally. The latter is the part I wish to focus on.
I did not comprehend when I began my journey into midwifery how emotionally demanding it would be (please hold with me, it is not as negative at is might sound!). Missing parties, friends’ weddings, birthdays, anniversaries or even just a night in the pub can take its toll on a tired mind, and can make it very difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you are surrounded by books, laptops and notes or even off to work a night shift as your friends are getting ready for a night of fun.
This vocation is not for everyone, people who realise that, do very quickly. You have to have midwifery in your heart, and believe me if you do you carry it round with you everywhere. Even walking down the street you will come across a dozen women with protruding abdomens and guess in your head how many weeks they may be, or watch one of the many birth related television programmes on currently and find yourself shouting (as if from some primal space within you) “PUT A HAT ON THAT BABY!” .
My point is in there somewhere; when you begin this journey it consumes your life. Your friends/family/partner, however supportive, will not completely understand the things you see and do, or that incomparable moment when dyad become triad and you have been privileged to guide them through. This is where self-care is so very important and the following are just a few pointers (of my own) that I believe to be crucial.
- The people you become friends with on your course will be the rock that supports you through. I cannot emphasise that point enough. You need people to tell you that it will be ok, and people to give you a (metaphorical) slap in the face and tell you to get on with it.
- Not everything has to be about midwifery! Take some time with your friends & family from before this journey. Have a conversation not about midwifery (however strange it may feel). Take a walk, go to the cinema, read a fiction book!
- Take some ‘me’ time. Have a bath when you’ve had a hard day or snuggle up in your comfy’s and have a cup of tea (or wine if it takes your fancy!). Get enough sleep when you can.
- It is so important to have fun and de-stress. Get some oxytocin flowing!
- Realise that we are all in it together. You are not alone, whilst a student you will always have other students to bat ideas off, link lecturers and tutors to support you and mentors in practice. The best advice I received was from a ward manager who told me “You will never be alone, midwifery is part of a multidisciplinary team and we are all in it together”.
I will leave you with what has become part of my blogs, a quote:
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart” – Helen Keller.