Blogging Positivity by ME

“It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis.” Margaret Bonnano.

“Some people feel the rain – others just get wet”. Roger Millar

“The more things you do , the more you can do “. Lucille Ball.

The year 2015 will be a year etched in my memory and on my heart . I can compare this year to a weather report. Some days have been so bright I have needed sunglasses (Time toGrow15) but there have been cloudy days in my training that have warranted reflection with self-care .Still, the birth of my blog in March 2015 was a rainbow day as it was the day that I wrote about my positive beginnings. I know that the beginning of the blog was from feelings that needed to be shared after a storm: reflecting on my life journey of love and loss.  I am so thankful for this beginning as I have found that I love to write; that I write with my heart on the keyboard (open and honest). I have explored my emotions and feelings with this medium;growing as a human being through it. I have had the honour of co-blogging and found joy in reading so many other blogs this year. I know they have shaped my understanding of myself and those around me.

I set out to write about positive happenings and how I could keep my positivity when feeling challenged by my life.As I read my blog entries I see that I have evolved ; been taught many lessons but still have a learning journey ahead . Yet, today after I thought about positivity and what it has done for me this year I realised that positivity has enabled the biggest embrace in my life . I have broadened my sense of possibilities. I have opened my mind which has allowed me to build new skills and take up resources (Twitter, RCMSMF,WeMidwives,Sprogcast). By building on these with enthusiasm and commitment , they have provided so much value to all areas of my life. I have found friends. People that I have never met or hugged in real life. I can call on (tweet) when I feel in the middle of a storm or a really rainy day but equally will share my sunshine (positivity) and wear their sunglasses with me too.

I will not deny that I have found some days so hard and challenging but I believe I have built a foundation that is strong and ready to withstand the storms ahead.

#ComingSoon2016 #CordyBlog #OxyhugsForAll

Making the Links

“It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” – R.W. Emerson
The piano has many keys and yet if a pianist only played one or three of these he or she wouldn’t make much music. They  need a collection of keys joined in tune and rhythm to make music. A symphony is many instruments united in harmony – each respecting the time and sound of the other. Music demands order and unity between different sounds and tones. The author Maria Cristina Mena rightly wrote ‘“The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colours in your mind.’ This collection and combination of the different create a rainbow of feeling and experience.
In our services we often get partnerships wrong. We don’t fuse the notes. We don’t allow the different parts the space and position they should have. As a result we produce no music or rainbows. Why do we fail to create partnerships that work and flourish? There are many reasons. We believe two fundamental reasons are that we fail to sink the roots and tend the shoots. In other words we fail to build the best foundations and fail to nurture and trim what is growing from the encounter.
The question should never be ‘What can I get from this?’ Rather it should be what can I bring or offer here to make a change for the better. A friend of the authors who has built serious and successful partnerships across services always say his first question is ‘What can we do to help you do what you have to do?’ His approach is about reaching out – building the bridges and the trust. This lays a good foundation because it is about creating a place where different services can co-create options and futures in co-operation and co-learning. Silo protecting and kingdom building are anathema to this practice. This is all about giving to make a difference. Our friend says that he always receives so much back that he is often overwhelmed by the people wanting to work with him. The roots are good will, good relationships and good giving. 
What grows from these are new ideas, fresh initiatives and forward looking plans. These are the shoots that need to be tended and cared for. Human frailty and our organisations culture and issues can easily undermine growth and the rising up of dynamic partnerships. The master partnership-maker watches the shoots while continually deepening the roots. They allow free growth while nourishing the foundations. Like a tree the partnerships grow and flow with branches spreading up to touch the sky and yet the foundations stay steady and firm.
A midwife student friend of ours was asked what happens when we don’t make good partnerships? She said ‘People feel lost and isolated. Those who use services don’t get true holistic care. Mistrust can spread and lack of understanding of what other services do becomes the norm.’ She went on to say that for her the major blocks to good partnership work were ‘Lack of true communication , understanding of roles and a lack of positive openness to others’. Her words contain a lot of wisdom. If we are not positively open to the other we will not communicate well and understand them and their roles. It is when we really see and  encounter the other and their role, value and importance that we make the deep connection. We may often find it difficult to have time for this. One solution is ‘snap conversations.’ Snap conversations is that minute or few minutes  – in a corridor or as a meeting has finished or while getting a coffee. It is in these contacts that human and humane connection can happen. Amazingly in a hour meeting there may be very little human and humane content yet in a few minutes afterwards something key and significant can happen. Perhaps a telling judgement on how we do meetings?     
On the eve of the 2015 Royal College of Midwives conference we publish this blog.  The theme of the conference is ‘Proud to be a Midwife’.  Midwifery works in partnership with obstetricians, neonatologist, scbu/nicu nurses in hospital , health visitors , social workers, specialist midwives and many others. Our midwife student friend said ‘We are in partnership with the women so we need to be in partnership with each other. We should always be thinking of how we can make the best links to make the best care.’ We believe there is a need for all NHS and care staff to spend time with patients and their families. Managers need to leave their computers ( at least for a while ) and spend lots of quality time with staff – to listen, learn and give. In Midwifery and everywhere let’s create spaces for midwives to hear all voices  – families, patients and other specialisms. These are the links that matter and engage. The future is how we together create a symphony of people working for best maternity care. Our student friend said ‘ I am proud to be a midwife – that’s why I try to connect with others.  I can’t do this work alone and I don’t want to. Together we are stronger.’ Making the links makes the difference. 
Nat Corden
John Walsh

The Boy’s have their say #MumInMidwiferyTraining

In this blog I look at my  son’s response to my question ” what is it like having a student midwife mum?”. I did ask him to be honest and he was , but I think there is so much more he wanted to say but didn’t . I liked reading his positive stance on my midwifery training and what has happened in our lives through it. Yet, I know that he has days when I am too busy to be “Mum” or when I get home from a 12hr shift I grimace rather than smile if he asks me to help him. The mother’s guilt I spoke about in my blog prompted me to ask him and this is what he wrote.

“Where do I start, I’m so glad that my mum has found something she is passionate about. She always comes home whether it’s been a tough or an excellent day with a smile on her face for us. Now, don’t get me wrong there are some difficulties. Being a 16 year old you can imagine my reluctance to take up more household chores to help out.

It’s really awesome to have a role model like my mum who is chasing something she really strongly believes in; one day I hope to be a doctor myself, so that inspiration from her really helps to motivate me. I’m really happy that she’s achieving big things and one day will be a great midwife.”

I’ve never seen my mum so stressed out in her entire life about essays and placement. I remember  the time when I tipped the vase full of water, and of course her flowers over my school clothes (That was not a good morning!). Or  when my little brother decided school can wait for his extended sleeping hours. Nevertheless, I know my mum will always love us no matter how difficult we make things sometimes.

It’s been a long and difficult past couple years for us, but I know my mum has loved every single step of the way and has achieved so much in such little time. We’re all so proud of her and I can’t wait till she qualifies.  ”

This response made me smile,but I know he feels so much more. I wonder when he is a man whether he will tell me what these years really felt like.

NOW my little son (7yrs nearly 8 – get it right mum ) when asked ” what did he think about mummy training to be a midwife ?” He told me this (verbatim)

” Mumma , sometimes I go to nannies because you have to go to work so early , I don’t mind because she makes good toast. I think you look lovely in  your uniform and I like your upside down watch. You are kind and You help women BUT please never bring any of those babies home ! OK? ”





What Role comes first ? #MyMother’sguilt

When anyone asks me who I am, my first answer in 2015 is “I’m a student midwife” but in 2012 It would have been” I’m a mother”. I know this may be shocking to you reader but it is my truth. I am proud to be a student midwife and midwifery is in my life in a profoundly positive way. I think at my age most women are mothers yet how many are students. I feel so blessed to be in my position and on this amazing journey. Still, I was a mother first and being a mother brought me to midwifery.However , I ask myself “what do my son’s think about that ?”.I wondered why I speak firstly about midwifery now not motherhood is it because it has taken over my life. I am a mother , a wife , a daughter , a friend and a student midwife aren’t I? BUT does the order in which I proclaim it matter ?.

I have 2 sons ,16 and 7 ( yes that is a huge age gap – like being on two different planets at the same time ). I am the “mother” that forgets its non-school uniform day, doesn’t bake for the cake sale , misses book afternoon, forgets lunch money , not there at pickup time and so many other “school moments”. If I am truthful , that has always been me , so my training has not changed that . What it has changed is the way I feel about “mother’s guilt”. This is the sinking feeling that I get when I miss an event , a moment in time, are not there when they need me and feel rubbish at being a mother. Over my 16 yrs of motherhood I have had quite a few , but since I began my training that feeling has changed .Ok, I miss things because of my training , I spend days/nights in my books, then 12 hr shifts that have patterns when I don’t even see them in their school uniform; just the faint memory of washing and ironing it at some point. Yet, I don’t feel that “mothers guilt “in the same way anymore. I believe that what I aim to achieve in my life will make their lives better.Midwifery is all over our house , the books , the journals , the uniform hung up in odd places to dry it in time for my shift and of course the huge amounts of paper that every degree necessitates. My son’s see how much I do, the “time” I manage well and the happiness I feel in my life doing what I do.  So, I think seeing me so enthusiastic about life and working so hard is the most positive way of  “being” and “living” that I can share with my sons. I think I say “student midwife ” first because it so important to me and THEM.

BUT I decided to ask my son’s what they thought …To be continued .

Mirror Mirror on the wall….whose reflection ? undermining behaviours

Cordy's Blog

When the wicked queen in snow white said those words she was waiting for a reply- her mirror was enchanted of course but it makes me wonder. Are negative behaviours the reflection of a person ?.  As  I read about student midwives that are bullied in placement by mentors. I feel that we need to understand the reflection that the bully has in the mirror. I mean “what makes a person become a bully?”.

The wicked queen in snow white is definitely a bully isn’t she ?. ( she is extreme I know – no poison apples please !!)

BUT what do we know about her ?

She married a widow with a young beautiful daughter, she is angry and jealous of the daughter.

I know this is a fairytale but stick with me –  does JEALOUSY develop a bully?.

Now think about the wicked queen again … what could we tell her about Snow White?.

Snow White is…

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When a Mother Smiles

‘Where there is love there is life’ – Gandhi


‘The first duty of love is to listen’ – Paul Tillich


Love is a powerful and wonderful force. It has generated songs, plays, films, books, heroic deeds and stories beyond number. It can cover everyone from one’ s partner to one’s family to the whole human race. And beyond this to animals, stars and the universe itself. There are different definitions of love. One which the authors like is that love is being there with another in giving and presence. This means that we are present to the other in kindness, openness and hope. It says ‘You matter and I care.’ In this blog a midwifery student has shared with us the thoughts and the insights she has in her work. They are her listening’s – what she has seen and heard and what has meant so much to her. These experiences we believe have significance for us all in what we do and for the world we try to make a better place. The experiences are of work in a maternity ward. This writing doesn’t cover everything that happens there but relates to the theme of love.


The first thing our friend described was the face of the mothers she worked with. Supporting the delivery of the baby and looking at the mother’s face she saw someone lost in joy and wonder. When our friend said how beautiful their baby was, the light on the mothers face seemed to grow and glow more bright. Our friend writes ‘When you see the mother ill, tired but full of love what do you see? A mother’s love. She may be in pain but she will smile , her eyes will shine with pride and she stares at her baby as she speaks to you.’ There is something in this deep gazing between mother and child that is pure love. A writer once said that the most common image for Western art was the theme of Madonna and Child. All those pictures of a woman looking lovingly at her child. There is an obvious reason for this in Europe’s Christian past. There may be another reason too. This image may offer us one of the most powerful and meaningful expressions of what love is all about – presence, giving and gazing. A giving and gazing that means everything.


This loving gaze offers a lens for many areas of life. Our friend writes,’ The loving gaze is what we do in all aspects of care ; the first time you listen in to a baby’s heart with a sonic aid – there is a moment of hope and then love as the woman smiles – the smile that shines.’ This loving gaze gives us a sign of how we may gaze upon another with kindness and commitment and care. We may not have the amazing intensity of a mothers love but we can have the intent of wishing another well. We can listen and be there. A friend of one of the authors was for many years a psychiatric social worker. He used to spend a lot of time with the service users on his caseload. He called it ‘the practice of presence.’ He would sit with them and really be there in kind connection. He would talk about whatever mattered to them. He would listen, be there and laugh with them. There was something in his meetings which was real connection and understanding. This too was love – a giving, listening and sharing.


Our friend spoke also of the midwifery team and of the bond existing between them. She saw how they tried to support one another. Here too she saw a look. ‘Sometimes it’s not by words but by a look – I need help is not always said aloud but they help each other. If a call bell rings they answer it and do what they can. The busy ward can be stressful but little things really make a difference and is actually caring for each other.’ We see here the elements of what good work culture and teams can look like. Looking after each other, getting the little things right, knowing when someone needs something because we are aware of them and working together to provide the best we can. In these we find a mini manifesto for getting the culture right in all our systems. Our friend finished by saying ‘ As you can probably tell  I adore midwifery for what it can mean to the women I care for. Every woman deserves to have a midwife that is compassionate, kind, loving, open and full of hope…I am so privileged to be in rooms which have been filled with love and care. It makes it all worthwhile. It also shows me again and again the strength of mothers…I see strength. Women are so strong.’  This is a good place to end this writing. A woman in a weakened and tired state holding her child and afire with a love and a new strength gazing into the face of her child and receiving back the baby’s gaze. It’s a picture we need to remember. It tells us so much about what life is all about – its about the love we give to others and can receive from them. That loving gaze and smile say it all.


Nat Corden


John Walsh

Positively sharing; An Acornic journey to protonicity

I sent a message to a twitter friend saying ” my heart is telling me to write – to share my positivity “. She replied with this …..
“Do What makes your Heart Sing, your Eyes Sparkle and your Soul Soar.”

My mind and heart roared out Positivity!!!.

My heart sings when I care for women and their families, being with midwives as part of a team and the life events we share.
My eyes sparkle as I feel  the love and the positivity.
My soul soars as the people around me find their positivity , their spark of protonicity and share that with the people they care for.

” I tweet positivity with an open heart.” @corden1326

I believe that I am on an acornic (a seed seeking the elements to grow ) journey in Midwifery, with my life journey and admiration of women firmly rooted. In my life I have needed resilience to keep moving forward, to keep my sparkle. Positivity has made the difference to face challenges and find happiness. The life lesson that I have learnt recently is that  sharing positivity with other people increases positivity. Its like smiling , share your smile with someone and they smile back. If I share positivity then another person may find it ……

I know that my intuition guides me and I know that I look for light; that is in people and surrounds them. I will admit that when I joined twitter , I was a little lost and felt that I did not fit the mould of a typical student. I find positivity in situations that many people would not understand and it makes me different in my approach to care. I know this led me to search for midwives that I could stand “tall” with , those that would encourage my differences and nurture the positivity that would shape the practitioner I hoped to become.

I reached out to join a wider community of midwives through twitter – seeking the light. I found #globalvillagemidwives and my #twitterbuddies. I can honestly say that my connections to them have given me strength , courage and a belief in myself that I never knew existed. A little tweet of positivity has made my day brighter, to feel enveloped by it. It may be a strange thing to say but I think by sharing my positivity with others I have learnt to love the person I am. I love my positive self – #positivelysharing.

“Love is the opposite of fear. The more we’re willing to love and trust who we are, the more we attract those qualities in ourselves. When we are on a streak of being frightened or upset or worried or not liking ourselves , isn’t it amazing how everything goes wrong in our lives ?. Its the same when we really love ourselves . Everything starts to go on a winning streak and we get green lights and the parking spaces . We get up in the morning and the day flows beautifully ” Louise Hay.

I really think this is so true as it has happened since I began to tweet , the more positive I am on twitter , the more positive I have felt and the more positivity I welcomed in all aspects of my life. It can be a simple thing, one line , one word , a picture that is positive. I tweeted ” challenge positivity” , sending out positive messages from the positivity surrounding me. This sounds a little weird but I feel it and it is truth. As I send messages of positivity , I receive it back. I know it reinforces my belief that life is a journey that needs positivity. It has made it easier for me to keep that positivity no matter what is happening around me and it keeps my spark ignited. The little messages I share are retweeted and shared to others, thus engaging tweet conversation of positivity and support for each other. This makes my heart sing and my soul soar , it has taken my positivity higher, happiness flowing beautifully and has given me courage to keep believing .

So my message to you is to find and  share positivity …a little gesture , a word , a line , a picture and see how it makes you feel.

Tweet me your #positivity and lets “tweet up ” how positive it can be to become a midwife , be a midwife , love midwifery and love ourselves.



Mirror Mirror on the wall….whose reflection ? undermining behaviours

When the wicked queen in snow white said those words she was waiting for a reply- her mirror was enchanted of course but it makes me wonder. Are negative behaviours the reflection of a person ?.  As  I read about student midwives that are bullied in placement by mentors. I feel that we need to understand the reflection that the bully has in the mirror. I mean “what makes a person become a bully?”.

The wicked queen in snow white is definitely a bully isn’t she ?. ( she is extreme I know – no poison apples please !!)

BUT what do we know about her ?

She married a widow with a young beautiful daughter, she is angry and jealous of the daughter.

I know this is a fairytale but stick with me –  does JEALOUSY develop a bully?.

Now think about the wicked queen again … what could we tell her about Snow White?.

Snow White is kind , caring and shows compassion, forgiving but she is strong.

These are wonderful attributes that the queen does know but when the wicked queen looks to the mirror she asks “Mirror Mirror on the wall , whom is the fairest of them all?”.

She is looking at herself and she knows the answer so she is fired up with anger and jealousy. The point being that it is her reflection not Snow Whites that angers her.

Now , think about the student midwife , she may be young (ish) , kind , caring , passionate about midwifery and EBP. Her mentor may see these qualities. She may be JEALOUS that this is no longer her reflection in a mirror ?. How does she react ? She behaves negatively and is a “bully”. She undermines the student and talks down to her. Is she angry with herself for not having the reflection that she used to have ? …. The loss of positivity and belief in midwifery that led her to the profession.

An idea – finding that lost positivity ? it may be a difficult challenge to look at the reflection in the mirror and ask “Mirror Mirror  on the wall, where has the midwife in me gone that I used to see in the mirror ?”

Just a few thoughts….. #fairytale

Like Father, Like daughter #inspiration

I saw a meme that said a girl’s dad is her first hero…..

I was a girl that loved her dad, he was funny and his laugh was so true it made you smile inside and out. I grew up and of course I did things that I know disappointed my dad – dropping out of my law degree and having a baby at 20 ( yes these were major).

Yet,  when my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour – Life was changed forever.

The man I took for granted – My dad who would help me no matter what I did or said, My dad who loved my son and would spend his time off looking after him so I could go to work, My dad that took me on holidays that created wonderful memories.My dad that would put on some music and dance with us all.

My Dad, a man who left school at 15 to be a footballer ( he played for Arsenal Youth ), who was a pipefitter when he lost his football career to injury , worked his way up to take his qualifications and finally got the job he truly loved when he was 48. He worked hard and paid to get a degree and then he got his masters.( sadly he did not get to ever put this after his name)

A year later , I kissed my Dad goodbye for the last time …

Time passed and I began my degree in Midwifery – so many moments along the way I had just wanted to share with him. I wanted to show him the things I was doing , the little things that made me smile and hear him laugh again.I wanted him to say I was doing great and that I could do anything I set my mind too.

Lately I have been asked ” Why are you doing all this extra stuff ?” ( NBFLN, TimeToGrow, RCMSMF and of course a cheeky blog ). I answer “because I want to and because I love it ” . I remember my dad working on his degree , papers everywhere, covering the conservatory floor , dad with a pen behind each ear and his posh fountain pen in his hand writing for hours. He did it all whilst working full time , being a dad, husband  and wonderful graggy ( my son’s peculiar name for him).  He worked hard to reach his goal ….and  I suppose the truth is so am I. I am as my mother says” my fathers’s daughter ” , though she does tend to use this when it comes to my driving and odd rituals of parking in the same space at the supermarket !!.

So Today I write this and give thanks for having a dad like mine.

My Dad – My Hero …. My inspiration.