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The students who study at BU are different. Their ambitions, expectations, interests, are all unique to them. And so are their experiences! Jessica tells us about her degree of difference in this guest blog.

 Jessica Correia studying BSc (Hons) Midwifery.

There is no feeling quite like the drive home post a 12-hour night shift as a student midwife. Tired eyes and the cold morning air hitting your face as the emotions pour over you. Reflecting on the beautiful birth you have been a part of. The elation on the new parents face after months of waiting for their new arrival and knowing you’ve been part of such a landmark moment in a person’s life. As I arrive home, I sit and watch people getting into their cars to start their day and my mind goes back to the dimly lit birthing suite and the sound of the gas and air being inhaled. The sudden rush of adrenaline that goes through your body as you pick up on those signs that birth is imminent, and you begin to quietly get ready to meet this beautiful baby. You worry all the time as a student that you’ll forget what to do, that you won’t remember what to say or what to write but in that moment all of that worry dissipates and the midwife you knew you wanted to become takes over. With the guidance of your mentor you’re there calm and with meaning supporting the woman to birth her baby. I always sit there for a good few minutes before I make my way inside and as my head hits the pillow I’m out for the count.

Midwifery is everything I ever imagined but at the same time it’s not. I knew I wanted to become a midwife since as far back as I can remember, being fascinated by pregnancy and the body’s remarkable ability to grow human life. However, when I applied to become a midwife during my A-Levels I never quite expected to be embarking on my own journey to motherhood rather than my journey to midwifery. Through my own experience I realised how daunting pregnancy really is and how many decisions you suddenly must make for your baby. I mean Vitamin K? I had no clue! It helped me understand what my passion was for maternity care and 5 years later when I finally applied again, I was ready. “Midwifery is about choice but more than that it’s about educating women to make a choice they understand and not just because it’s the choice most people make”. I proudly announced at my interview. My pathway through life, leading me to that very moment had grounded me as a person and from it I had developed my own philosophy that would underpin my entire practice as a student midwife and guide me through my career.

From receiving my place at Bournemouth University, to starting my first day I couldn’t get the excitement under control, I felt like a child counting down the days till Christmas. This indescribable passion that I had for midwifery and the realisation that I was finally embarking on my journey to becoming a midwife ignited something and I couldn’t wait to learn. Education has always been important to me and is a cornerstone of my philosophy of care. I believe educating women and lifelong learning for healthcare professionals is essential for safe and woman-centred care. So, I started to read and watch documentaries anything to pass the time and prepare myself for that 1st day that I had been waiting for.

When that day finally arrived the nerves of being back in education and meeting so many new people took over. I felt like I didn’t know where to put myself, who should I sit next to, I recognised a few faces and that helped put me at ease. Now I reflect on this time and compare these feelings to my practice as a midwife and how women must feel during birth. Vulnerable, nervous, scared and the not knowing who is going to be there to look after you and support you on your journey and I think about how I felt when I had my children and meeting my midwife for the first time when I was in pain. And so, I hold onto these memories and remind myself of the importance of being kind. Being that person who smiled at me when I walked in on my first day at university and I take those memories with me to every woman I meet. Beginning every hello with a smile.

Midwifery is so much more that catching babies. It’s being that listening ear when someone’s had a bad day and their partner just doesn’t quite understand. It’s being there to support a mum who’s been awake for 36 hours and still can’t get her baby to feed. It’s understanding the need for silence and when to speak, respecting that that birth belongs to that woman. The journey to qualifying might be 40 catches and 100 antenatal and postnatal checks but there’s no magic number for the being with women.  All those tiny moments There is no way to teach these skills its about the person you are, its about being kind, compassionate and caring to others. Midwifery is an ever-changing career that requires resilience, passion and courage. But, above all midwifery is the most amazing emotional rollercoaster I have ever had the joy of being apart of.

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