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Celebrating international day of the midwife with Hexham midwife Jackie Watson

Friday, 04 May, 2018
Celebrating international day of the midwife with Hexham midwife Jackie Watson

To celebrate #IDM2018 on 5 May, Jackie Watson, a midwife at Hexham General Hospital and in the community, talks about the role she plays and why she does it…

I’ve been a midwife for 32 years and in that time I can honestly say there hasn’t been one moment that I can imagine doing anything else.

When I started every trainee nurse spent 12 weeks assisting on a maternity ward. I’d always been interested in it and by the end of those three months, I knew I’d spend my life doing it. As a midwife, I am extraordinarily privileged to share some of the best moments of people’s lives. For the time I’m with them I’m one of the family, sharing their journey; through laughter and tears.

More than ever midwives are skilled clinicians but because of the intensely personal, emotional, nature of what we do our role is so much more. We advise, we counsel, we offer a hug and a cup of tea. We’re there to look after the individual person as well as the body; something we are very proud to do and which is integral to providing good care.

By 1990 – when I stopped counting – I had helped deliver 400 babies. Each and every time I get to experience the sheer joy of new life and let me tell you: the feeling never goes away. There are some difficult times and some heartbreak – even today tragedies do happen – but midwives are a team and we all rally round each other and our patients.

From when a pregnancy is first confirmed to delivery, and when mum and baby first go home, we try to offer what we call ‘continuity of care’. This means we try to have the same midwife see the same mum-to-be each time and throughout the journey. This is important as it makes our other roles like encouraging healthy choices and safeguarding much easier. It also means expectant mums have someone they know and trust with them at what is a wonderful, but occasionally, nervous time.

Midwifery has changed a lot since I started, but it’s only improved. Public expectations have risen but the profession has adapted and met them. I’ve been doing this long enough that babies I delivered at the start of my career are now coming back to start their own families – quite a moment! – and I can still say, hand on heart, that the future is exciting.