On the 14th March, 2016 I got my dream come true and began working as the newest member of a midwifery led birthing centre. In the same room as I saw my first ever baby being born some 5 years previously, I was quickly thrown into the depths of pure midwifery (or however deep a birth pool would allow me) and into the most exciting, rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
I’ve been punched, kicked, I’ve laughed and cried (from joy, sadness and fear) been overwhelmed and been called a bitch. I’ve seen people become families, couples become parents and I’ve watched strong women smash every conception of what they believed their bodies could be capable of.
A year ago, I decided to grab life by the birth balls and take full control of my mental and physical health. Putting myself first is not something that came easy to me, I dedicated my late teens and early twenties to putting all I had into the women I cared for, and my friends and family around me. I gave up the “down it Fresher” lifestyle for weekend night shifts and a heavy reliance on caffeine. Caring for others is something which has always been a natural instinct to me (not many 18 year olds would take antiseptic, steri-strips and bandages to Aiya Napa – but I had the last laugh when I was able to patch up my friend’s foot after a drunken sandals-in-a-nightclub glass incident.)
It took me a while to realise that caring for myself had taken more than a back seat.
Perhaps it was seeing incredibly strong women birthing their babies, perhaps it was the infectious confidence of my colleagues but something inside me changed and I realised I was the only person who could improve myself. The birthing centre has allowed me to grow in confidence in not only my midwifery practice, but in myself. We’re forced to work autonomously, decision making being the main part of my day. Split second decisions we make can influence heavily on the care we provide and the outcomes of the mothers and babies.
Although I removed toxic people and negative energy from my day to day life, I’d be lying if I said the last year has been a breeze. However, I have a strong group of fierce women around me and my girlfriends have made no secret of how much I’ve changed and grown since. These are people who have known me for almost 6 years, seen me progress from the nervous little first year student, thrown into 14 flat-deep halls of residence, to the graduating student, chuffed with her 1st class hons degree, but (not so) secretly shitting herself about working as a registered midwife. I would never undermine the role my friends have taken in my turning point, I just hope they realise how much they’ve changed my life.
This time a year ago, I was in training to run the Edinburgh Marathon. Having only started running some 8 months prior, I spent a lot of time wondering what the hell I’d let myself in for. The constant flow of donations towards SANDs and Mind charities and running in memory of my Uncle Ibs and Cousin Aida kept me going and miraculously, I completed the marathon on May 29th in an awesome 4 hours and 9 minutes (+5 seconds – that time will forever be ingrained in my brain.) Two years before my run, a friend posted a photo online of me standing in the road during the London Marathon captioned “the closest she’ll ever get to a marathon route.” It had always been a ‘bucket list’ target for me, and knowing I completed it and proved everyone wrong was the start of something big for me.
Now spinning 4 times a week with BoomCycle, and with another half marathon fast approaching (too fast for my liking) my physical health has taken quite the battering over the past year, and I strongly believe the link between exercise and good mental health beats any form of medication or therapy. I have found my passions and have recently been told I should pursue these passions and hence the birth of this blog (prepare yourselves for a number of childbirth analogies throughout) for all things midwifery, exercise and general strong woman badassary.