Since I last wrote I have passed all my assessments (yay!) and have taken the first steps into my community placement. Finishing my exams and assessments was such a huge relief! I felt like I had time to enjoy myself now, and stopped cleaning the kitchen from stress. Although the grades we have received for these are only provisional, thankfully I passed them all. At the start of the year I had high hopes for the grades I wanted, but the further into this first year as a student midwife I got, the more rational I became about this and decided that passing this year was enough for me!
This week is my fourth week on my community placement. I’m really enjoying the placement so far and have been blessed with an absolutely fantastic mentor with an excellent vision for midwifery and the future. I’ve found adjusting to the community way of working a little difficult, especially after having such a ball on the ward, but I think slowly, I’ll get into the swing of things and find some sense of belonging as a community midwife.
So far, community has allowed me to meet some fantastic women, and I feel that relationships are already beginning to establish between the women I have met on more than one occasion so far. I think that’s my favourite thing about community, seeing a women progress through her pregnancy and building such a strong bond with her as she does so. From working with my mentor, I can really see the difference this relationship has on the care as a whole and how open an individual is in antenatal clinics.
This different scene of midwifery has also allowed me to practice some different skills of midwifery. I’ve already had lots of opportunities to practice manual blood pressure (it’s hard to tune the ear to the beat on a heart!) and to palpate lots of beautiful bellies! I’ve even had the chance to perform my first VE! Last week I experienced my first ever kick from a baby, and it was rather magical! I have also been introduced to so many strong willed women. My mentor has taught me that by empowering women, they can have the pregnancy and birth experience they want, not the one we think they should have. I’ve been introduced to home births, lotus births, the art of carrying your baby and even reusable nappies! I feel this is of real importance. There’s a different side of midwifery out there that is often ignored or considered not normal, but in reality it is amazing.
Despite having a lovely old time on placement I think I’ve hit a patch of first year blues. Scrolling through forums online it seems this is quite common, particularly at this stage of our first year. At the moment, I can’t quite put my finger on what the cause of this blues is, but I think it stems from the frustration at a midwifery practice that’s so stuck in its ways you can’t help but want to stand on the roof tops and try to make a change. I did however, attend an Art Therapy for Reflection session which was amazing! It really helped me to relax and gather my thoughts, and produce some ‘art’ in the process. I’d really encourage any of you feeling slightly down or a little confused to access a similar support network, as I really can’t express enough the enjoyment and relief I got from it.
So for now it’s back to community and a week in antenatal clinic before another reading week and back to education in university.