My Steps to Midwifery Light

Cordy's Blog

When people know you have lost a baby they assume you want to be a midwife because of that loss. After recounting my story of the loss of my baby and the many miscarriages I suffered in my quest to have a “rainbow baby”  I shake my head when I am asked if I want to be a bereavement midwife.  I have worked with bereavement midwives and I am in awe of them but I did not start this journey to become one. My aim to become a midwife and the reason I am now at university is rooted in my admiration for all women and every birth. I have heard midwives say they were “born” to be a midwife , their beautiful births led them to midwifery or their need to make birth better for other women  has driven them to train. This makes me wonder ….

I definitely know that my journey did not begin because…

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My Steps to Midwifery Light

When people know you have lost a baby they assume you want to be a midwife because of that loss. After recounting my story of the loss of my baby and the many miscarriages I suffered in my quest to have a “rainbow baby”  I shake my head when I am asked if I want to be a bereavement midwife.  I have worked with bereavement midwives and I am in awe of them but I did not start this journey to become one. My aim to become a midwife and the reason I am now at university is rooted in my admiration for all women and every birth. I have heard midwives say they were “born” to be a midwife , their beautiful births led them to midwifery or their need to make birth better for other women  has driven them to train. This makes me wonder ….

I definitely know that my journey did not begin because I wanted to emulate the midwives that cared for me in my loss , even though their kindness did make the time as bearable as it could be. It was little steps that took me to midwifery when I was looking for some light……..

The steps began after I had my third son , he was my delight but I continued to grieve for my dad and the little boy I had lost and some days were still very dark. I told my baby everyday that he was healing my heart. Which now seems a great responsibility for a little baby but he seemed to know that I needed him as much as he needed me. Breastfeeding him was easy and he was a weight in my arms that I never felt I wanted to let go of. I joined a surestart and chatted to the public health midwife . I have always loved a good natter, she was kindness personified and I found myself telling her about my sadness. She listened and shared a few tears with me. She suggested doing a breastbuddies course to help other women. When I look back now  I know she was trying to help me find a light , to find a path , to take a step and for that I will always be thankful to her. I eagerly took to the task of reading all I could about supporting mothers. I spoke to mothers , fathers and grandmothers about breastfeeding. It was a little step…..

A phone call on a sunny day from a midwife asking me to train to be a postnatal doula caring for vulnerable women was accepted with a little trepidation .  I believe that feeling was there because it was another step into being another person. I was unsure of the light that was shining brighter in front of me. Most of the women did not know what a doula did but when they met me and I explained I would help them practically or be a listening ear they engaged. It was a challenging but a lovely journey to be with these women. I stepped a little closer….

So there came a time when I could no longer deny the fact that I had changed. I can say that the light was shining so much I needed to wear my sunglasses !. My eldest son started a conversation about what I planned to do when I grew up. Yes , he wanted to know what my real job was going to be. It was the push to my next step that I needed. I started a job as a maternity support worker (msw) which I loved from the very first moment. A car, train , tube then walk journey from my home that equated to at least a 16hr day when doing a 12 hr shift. I spent time with women and by that I mean women in all senses the women we cared for , the women in the families , the ward clerk , the domestic , the bounty lady , the obstetricians , the SHO’s  and of course the midwives. Each shift I learnt something about women. I learnt about birth , families and support but most of all I realised that I wanted to try to become a midwife. I loved women , I admired women, I was astounded by birth and wanted to be “with woman”. I worked for 3yrs as an msw , completing a foundation degree in maternity support and gained courage to be me. I  applied to do my midwifery degree and even with many moments of self doubt I managed to get a place at university ( but those interviews are a story for another day).

I stepped into the Midwifery light in September 2013 and the journey began…….

Acornic Midwife ? Is that really me ?

One day I will tell you all about #Normalbirthforlonenuts and how it came to be but today I  want to talk about  #Acornic. The Acornic midwife was a funny nickname given to me on twitter by Deirdre Munro (@DeirdreMunro). I remember when I saw it on twitter for the first time and laughed. It was obviously a link to Normal birth for lone nuts and our new logo. The logo in question is an acorn with a baby inside it. Yet, today I had a #InoMo (Innovationmoment ) when Deirdre again referred to me as an #Acornicmidwife.

The acorn as we all know is the seed of the oak tree, and we think of the saying .

“From Little Acorns do Big Oaks Grow

But what about the Acorn ?

It will need to be strong to reach it’s potential,  to meet the challenges it takes to grow and belief that it will become what it aims to be.

Now think of a student midwife …. What qualities will she/ he need ?

She or He will need to be strong. Now that is strength in many ways ,mentally and physically but I think it really is resilience . The student midwife will need to be resilient . I have read about resilience and it really makes sense in the emotionally charged world we live in to build resilience. So , the challenges to grow could be the challenge of being resilient, to find ways to self-care and to develop strategies of self – compassion. Though, the student midwife will need to have courage. My wonderful twitter mentor Jenny Clark (@JennytheM) tells me to have #couragebutter , the ingredient of self -belief ?.

The wanna-be student midwife has to have belief that she/he can be a student midwife . The student midwife has to believe that they will finish the course and qualify as a midwife ….But.

The student midwife may struggle to find  the self belief she /he had. In that I mean the longing to be a student then the reality of being one and the demands of the course means it may get lost . She or He will need to draw on their resilience , they will need to actualise self-care and self-compassion. Ultimately they will need to find their self- belief again.

The belief that YES they can do this , YES it is hard , YES it is a challenge like no other they may ever encounter… (well perhaps , Motherhood/ Fatherhood if they have not been there yet!!  ).

The question is then How ?

Well, My answer Acornic Midwives AKA student midwives is to join twitter – link up with the wider midwifery community. Become part of  #globalvillagemidwives  and tweet to midwives that inspire YOU. The midwives on twitter have been an Acorn and now they are oaks. Tweet them and they will support you . Now, I am not saying that you need to twitter stalk midwives when you are an acornic midwife but the day a midwife you admire “tweets” back is a great moment . This moment is known as a #MyoMO (@DeirdreMunro). Still, there are many acorns on twitter and of course I am one of them so you can tweet me if you like . I spread positivity , Jenny Clark (@JennytheM) may call it #positivitybutter and Deirdre Munro (@DeirdreMunro) calls it being #protonic. I call myself Cordy Positivity.

I know the support that is my Twitterfamily is inspiring my journey , developing resilience , helping me to have self belief , self compassion and #couragebutter.So the nickname Acornic is no longer funny , its my way forward . I think being an acorn could be great . I think the acorn has so much potential and growing into an oak is an amazing job well done.

So I say yes, I think I will be an Acornic Midwife that embraces her chance to  grow into an Oak.

Today I saw my name ……

Cordy's Blog

We read our names all the time . We read them on the post , emails , letters, facebook , phones and twitter.  My name like most people means so much to me , it is my married name , my boys share it and our nickname “Cordy” always creates a warm feeling . Whether that be it being called across the cricket pitch at the boys , shouted out as they receive an award and signed off on our holiday facebook pictures as “The Cordys”. Still, my name is just my name on a normal day.
Yet, today I had a wonder moment as I was reading essential midirs . It began when I was sitting on the couch , dog at my feet , teenager watching Soccer AM and heard the post drop through the letter box. I got up and picked up the post scouring it to read…

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Today I saw my name ……

We read our names all the time . We read them on the post , emails , letters, facebook , phones and twitter.  My name like most people means so much to me , it is my married name , my boys share it and our nickname “Cordy” always creates a warm feeling . Whether that be it being called across the cricket pitch at the boys , shouted out as they receive an award and signed off on our holiday facebook pictures as “The Cordys”. Still, my name is just my name on a normal day.
Yet, today I had a wonder moment as I was reading essential midirs . It began when I was sitting on the couch , dog at my feet , teenager watching Soccer AM and heard the post drop through the letter box. I got up and picked up the post scouring it to read my name on it. The post for me was my copy of essential midirs and I sat back down to read it. I became engrossed almost instantaneously and the pages turned. I arrive at page 27 after a while and saw it was written by Sheena Byrom OBE (@SagefemmeSB). At this juncture the dog did look up at me imploringly but I ignored him after a promise of a walk later. The article was about the media and health care but also the use of SoMe by healthcare professionals. I was so pleased to read about Milli Hill (@positivebirth) and my mind was thinking how great it would be to actually sit at a table with these wonderful women not only the virtual table of twitter. When the moment happened …..
On twitter my wonderful twitter mentors Deirdre Munro (@deirdremunro) and Jenny Clark (@JennytheM) talk about #myomoments and this moment was just that. It was when I read MY NAME , the name I read over and over. The name I check is spelt correctly on essays hand insheets and the name I love . There it was in print – what a moment that was . Now, you could say it was minor because it was a my name mentioned by another but to me it was a moment that I will not forget.
As a student midwife we are told to read , read ,read and to be honest it is a good job I love to read. Still , the reading I have done since my journey to become a midwife began meant that I subscribed to MIDIRS (@MIDIRS) as a student wanna be. Reading the articles admittedly sometimes I had no clue what they meant but I perservered.
Today , as I see my name in that publication I see a beginning …. but I also know that the student wanna be’s that see my name will be thinking – “that could be me “.
WOW what a day …. Gratitude Sheena Byrom and the wonderful Rachel Checkland (@toffeelady08). Rachel listens to me for hours , she is a true friend and a midwifery sister that I could not be without .
Now , I best walk the dog as I did promise…

Positive beginnings.

To say I got my ticket for the roller coaster that is positivity from my life events is maybe too sentimental and almost silly . Yet I believe that is how I became a positive person. Now I am not declaring that I see everything in a positive way and react with positivity in every situation but I feel that being positive is vital to my well-being. After the loss of my baby and the passing of my dad I had no positivity . I walked the path of grief and got very lost. As I write this I think back to that time when I was so confused. When positive things happened to the people around me I did not feel, I looked at them and smiled then I congratulated them on their joy. I knew my life was negative. I did not want to accept my broken life so I embraced a chance to speak with a therapist. People warned me that I was strong and did not need therapy. I suppose my outside actions had betrayed me at this time as I had carried on with the life that was expected of me. I cared for my older son , I ran my household , I went to work and I supported my mother in her grief. The sessions were on a Tuesday , I went in the room each time full up with emotions and left sometimes confused but mostly I felt relinquished of “stuff”. The “stuff” I mean were the things I cannot change , the words I could have said or the words I did say. It was a “change ” catalyst in my life that to explore fully I would need to write a book. I can say that it was a time that I found “positivity” and it helped me to look back over my life and find the times of “positivity” within it. The fact that I sat with my dad as he died and held his hand is one of the saddest moments of my life but it was positive because I had the chance to be there. Holding your baby when it has died is a pain I cannot put it words because it will always evoke many tears. I know there was positivity in that room at that moment because he was so perfect and I was so lucky to hold him one time. It is a simple thing to say that life is a journey and that the paths we take will be hard and sometimes challenging. It is easy to say that you need to find the right path. To be positive and to have positivity in our actions. Still, to find positivity in yourself and others is a roller- coaster ride that when you get your ticket you need to hold on tight.