Everyone will have a different route to beginning their midwifery journey. But after we start, everyone comes together and experiences the three years (or 18 months) in pretty similar ways. There is no ‘right’ way to become a student midwife, but I thought I’d take this time to document my own journey, featuring where my passion started, getting the grades and my personal work experience.
As you may already know, I was one of those youngsters coming straight from sixth form to university. Some questioned this by telling me I would need some life experience first, however I feel like I’ve proved that anyone can study midwifery, no matter their age!
When I finished my GCSEs, we had to apply for Sixth Form by submitting a mini personal statement. Looking back on this statement, I wasn’t actually sure which career I wanted to pursue at the age of 16. Apparently, I was considering dance and law as careers along with midwifery – all quite different professions when you think about it! But this did make me realise that midwifery has been in my thoughts for quite some time.
A-levels were my first hurdle to jump over on my journey to midwifery. I did four A-levels through both Year 12 and Year 13 (some people choose to drop one for their final year, but I continued on!). I had quite a mix of subjects as I enjoyed learning in different ways and hoped to keep my options open in case midwifery didn’t seem attainable. First of all was Dance – not something typically needed as a midwife I’m sure you’re thinking, however I wanted a subject I really loved. Dance was also a passion all through my childhood and teenage years, so it only made sense to continue this and get a grade in it at the end! Next came English Literature – I enjoyed this as a GCSE and always found analysing texts super interesting. I’ll also always have a soft spot for Sociology as there’s something so fascinating about digging deeper into society and its values. I have found this quite helpful during my training due to the wider understanding about social diversity. Then comes biology! Not my best grade out of the four subjects but definitely the most helpful when it comes to anatomy and physiology. This was also where I found I was captivated with anatomy, and most importantly how the body adapts during pregnancy. A-levels require a lot of hard work in a similar sense to a degree course, and I’m not one of those people to post my grades everywhere. All you need to know is that I worked and worked and got the grades I needed!
While at Sixth Form, we had a lot of encouragement with how to use UCAS and to set up a plan for after we finished. This was when the university open days came in full swing. I must have visited between 5 and 10 different universities and these were more than helpful in ascertaining my decisions on applications. I applied to 5 universities as I thought this may increase my chances of being accepted! My dream was to stay at home in Suffolk, however I also applied to the University of East Anglia (UEA), the University of Hertfordshire, Anglia Ruskin University and Oxford Brookes. Luckily, I was offered interviews to all five, but when my place was confirmed for Suffolk, I just couldn’t turn it down. My dream was coming true!
People also often ask me which work experience I had before applying to university, I think because this is something which shows your work ethic and may set you apart from others applying. I never discredit my part-time waitressing job when responding to this question; I did this throughout my two years at Sixth Form and provided me with so many skills which were definitely transferable! I had to work as a part of a team, communicate with the wider public as well as think quickly to solve problems. I guessed being able to carry three plates at the same time or a full tray of wine glasses wasn’t a skill I’d need in midwifery though!
Alongside this, I helped in teaching 3 dance classes per week (looking back, who knows how I fit all this in!). This experience was really valuable as it meant I could pass my passion on to younger children, as well as develop personal skills such as assertiveness and confidence.
Now, not everyone has the opportunity to gain midwifery-specific work experience as it is tough to gain access to midwifery services… unless you’re actually having a baby yourself and I wasn’t planning on that just yet. I did however manage to observe a breastfeeding workshop and a parentcraft class which were run by a maternity care assistant in the community. I LOVED these two days as they were so interesting and they were my first insight into midwifery! I also got to communicate with some actual, real-life pregnant women about their worries and anxieties which was probably (hopefully) a beneficial chat for both parties!
Other experience included some voluntary work at a local hospice which gave me more of an insight into clinical working. I also had an in-depth conversation with a family friend about her two births as well as her experiences of breastfeeding, which made me even more determined to provide positive care to every woman I may have the pleasure of caring for.
I tried to ensure all of this experience and study transpired through both my personal statement and interviews to really show how passionate I was about midwifery as well as why I might be a good ‘fit’ for the role. Something must have worked because I wouldn’t be here now if not!
I could talk more about my midwifery journey but I imagine this blog the length of an essay might start to get a bit boring. So if you’d like to know more please feel free to pop me a message either by email, website or Instagram!