I enjoy making my home feel like a warm welcoming place to my family and to friends as well as to myself . A calm happy home gives me the ability to relax as well as work hard. However, I do own some clutter and although my home is clean I have spots that need organising . So this week I bought the book “Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo- it is about keeping items in our homes that make us feel joyous and getting rid of things that do not . Whilst reading it I was suddenly struck to consider what “sparks my joy” in midwifery? What should I cherish love and hold onto ?
I would keep public speaking/social media , being an advocate for women , MatExp and being a mentor. I would also extol the virtues of being a “radical” Here’s why
Public speaking and Social Media
I really didn’t realise this until I spoke at Uclan to the future midwives and then at the Breatfeeding Festival in Manchester. Truthful feedback is imperative to me as it enables me to develop and see myself through others eyes. My focuses as a speaker are to impart knowledge , learn myself , inspire others to leave feeling they can make a difference and change the way they seen themselves perhaps to consider presenting themselves . I have to feel a positive sense of connection with the audience and I make a solid effort to achieve this as it’s definitely important to me that presenting is a two way process . I ask questions and I learn from the audience . As well as talking about my passion for midwifery I also openly admit that I can’t know everything . I like to involve humor and also poetry – I feel so happy when others laugh and learn with me . The other reason I love attending conferences is that I network with other midwives and people who have a shared goal in making the NHS and especially maternity services even better . I see one of my key roles as tweeting at a conference to share the experience and agenda with the global midwifery network . I have made many real friends through twitter and I will continue to reiterate Eric Qualmans words “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media , the question is how well we DO it” I am privileged to have just written a section in an article with Teresa Chinn MBE about this topic . Teresa’s website HERE and she is the founder of We Communities which has changed the digital face of nursing midwifery medical and allied health professionals on line . Click HERE to find out more . I never in a million years realised that Twitter would connect me with such a community of compassionate and driven people . Social media is a vehicle that helps us to share information, learn and enable . This immeasurable crucial part of the infrastructure of global healthcare gave me the courage to become a blogging midwife and connect with the MatExp team but even more reinvigorated my passion to learn even more about midwifery the NHS , leadership , kindness and start to cherish my own long hidden rebelliousness . Through THE SCHOOL FOR HEALTH AND CARE RADICALS I e found it’s ok to be radical and that change takes time and committment – if you want to learn more join the next cohort which starry this February – you will not look back (click HERE )
Being a mentor
My other joy is being a mentor I love to ask future midwives how I can facilitate their learning and yet learn from them . I see myself as a radical mentor I talk about, teach and observe for compassionate care , courage and good communication. When working with students of any discipline I feel it’s so important to hear their voice and also to be honest to them about obstacles they may encounter to prepare them for their future roles . I am a truthful mentor and it’s just so crucial that the first meeting is positive. My goal is to melt their fear or apprehension as soon as we meet – to let them know that I am a teacher, a learner and also that I am helping them on a journey . I do like to give spontaneous teaching sessions and find it hard to contain my excitement when future midwives tell me about new research or publication. Mentoring also includes being a role model to peers , newly qualified midwives and reaching out to give others help, inspiration and guidance face to face as well as through social media. I have several key mentors in my life and career who assist me through coaching and reflection which in turn aids my development as a mentor . I love to hear news from colleagues and students as well as sharing with them new things I’ve read via social media , recommend blogs or books to read and upcoming conferences .
An advocate for women
I will have been a midwife for 23 years this June. I see myself as constantly evolving and realise that I will never reach my destination – I don’t want to though I want to keep growing each day . By having this approach I hope that I am open to women’s families and colleagues voices .I extol the long term and short term virtues and benefits of skin to skin contact at any opportunity . Being a midwife means being a strong communicator and embracing oneself as an ambassador for global women . It’s about being current and modern despite age or experience – this ethos should apply to all who work in the NHS . Choice and consent should be embedded into our role as advocates . Cotinuity of carer must be a priority plus a positive communicative relationship between the midwives and women all embedded into what we do just as much as a building needs a roof , windows , a door and warmth .
Mat Exp is all about maternity experience . It’s a change platform where anyone can participate , discuss and suggest new ways to assess , plan, implement and receive care – putting the family first in Maternity services . MatExp is also about staff who are involved in this specialty and how we can improve their experiences too. This is why I adore it – everyone has an equal and valid voice – there is no hierarchy and ideas are constantly flowing . MatExp HQ exists in a virtual digital sense – it’s everywhere and a testament to the true power of social media . Due to MatExp I’ve learnt more about PostTraumatic Stress Disorder due to birth trauma which can affect men as well as women . I understand more about the feelings of families when their babies have been stillborn or died after birth . I have been able to connect with women, families, health professionals and radicals to spread the word about why collaboration works because we are actually doing it . I have also met the most amazing people from all walks of life and feel I have connected with them in making a difference . Just search #MatExp on twitter or take a look at the website HERE to read about who is already involved and how you can get involved .
So now you know what sparks joy in me- I’d like you to visualise Change as a form of decluttering – it’s not necessarily forgetting about the old – but it’s making sure it’s archived so that we can look back as well as forwards and see why it’s so important to keep moving shifting and changing. Let’s make NHS care “Spark Joy” in the people that use it and the ones who work in it .
As a form of reflection think of four things that Spark Joy for you within your own work and life and write about them .
Thank you for reading
Ps To my grown up children , my family and friends you also spark joy within me and you are and always will be in my heart – thank you ❤️