I have been maintaining midwifery blogs since 2006, with the aim of recording and sharing midwifery skill and knowledge, promotion of normal birth, and making critical comment on current issues in maternity care.
In the mid-1990s, as I was establishing my private midwifery practice, I kept a hand-written journal with photographs and other mementos from many of the births I attended. This journal became the source for the chapters of ‘The Midwife’s Journal’, which has been a section of my website since 1997. The Midwife’s Journal was my first attempt to use electronic media. I sought to write about my personal journey through the terrain of childbearing, rather than make a record of birth stories.
Blogs and web-based books such as The Midwife’s Journal are readily translated into e-books. My two midwifery e-books are Midwifery from my heart, published in 2010, and Mother Daughter and Midwife, published in 2011. I have more e-books planned.
I would like to encourage midwives to use reflective writing as an aid to developing a strong midwife identity, and in processing both the joys and challenges and sadnesses that we face on a daily basis. A blog can be set up with open access, or to be accessed only by those who the owner permits. Privacy issues must be considered, of course.
Today I have received a very special email message from a young woman in London. This is what she wrote:
I wanted to send you an email and whilst searching for your address I came across the beautiful birth story you wrote about me in your journal (Homebirth Far From Home). I am so grateful you did that as it brings back such wonderful memories, and makes me so proud. Thank you.
The reason I wanted to email you was to let you know that I have just completed my midwifery training and will be starting a job at Kings College Hospital in London in June. I chose to apply KCH because of their 7% home birth rate (one of the highest in the UK) and the strong philosophy that permeates their care in keeping birth normal.
I know I have said it before but I wanted to let you know what an inspiration and role model you have been to me on this journey. Although we live on opposite sides of the planet, and [her son's] birth was over 12 years ago I still feel that you have played a strong part in my success at starting and completing the rewarding but often challenging training involved. You have also influenced my every day practice and my belief in the power of women to birth their babies as they choose.
With much love and respect,
Dear reader, can you imagine how wonderful it is to receive this letter?
I have just now gone back to the account of 'Homebirth Far From Home', and my eyes are moist as I recall that beautiful young woman giving birth confidently to her strong and healthy child. I feel totally privileged to know that my brief role with her more than 12 years ago has contributed to the development of a new midwife who is about to set out on her professional career.
As women give birth to their babies, midwives beget baby midwives.
Midwives who are reading this, let me encourage you now to treasure every experience you have when being 'with woman'. One of those women may, with your support, begin or progress in the journey towards becoming a midwife herself.
Thankyou, dear reader, for your comments.