The last thing I was expecting after the birth of my daughter was to be ill. I use the word ill because that is how it felt, I expected that I may feel postnatally depressed, but this was not that and it left me confused and concerned. I felt really ill, close to death in fact, something was dreadfully WRONG with the whole thing..
This was what my husband said to me when I told him I was not planning to get a job in the NHS... Three years of studying whilst working at the hospital to get my degree and he seemed to have missed my journey? I had ate, breathed and slept midwifery, catching babies in my dreams at night, it was an immense journey. I had talked about little else and must have been very boring to live with but somehow he had missed my struggling, he had missed my passion for the job. I realised I had been so caught up in the day to day I had never really sat him down and explained what it was I wanted to do and why.
Of course his point was fully valid. Why would anyone pay for something they could get for free? Let alone what seems like vast amounts of money to those that don't know what they are paying for. Most people don't know you can hire an independent midwife or indeed that we even exist at all. The press would have had you believe that we are now extinct like the dinosaurs, a once beautiful ideal that just couldn't keep up in the modern world in which we live. Of course the opposite is true we are blossoming and starting to get the word out that we are here to stay.
The last 12 months has been an uncertain time for Independent Midwives with legislation and red tape threatening our profession. I have been tentatively booking clients, explaining the situation and knowing that things could change at any time. After a busy spring I was looking forward to some time off over the summer and perhaps needing to look at a change of direction for my work. I had a full summer of workshops, festivals and holidays planned and was looking forward to much needed time with my family. My colleagues had been working unbelievably hard behind the scenes and at the end of July, they
managed to secure the future of Independent midwifery in the UK !!
This summer has been a real time for celebration of women and midwives and I have made the most of it, enjoying the warmth and rare sunshine to the max. I did have festivals planned until the beginning of september, however at the beginning of the summer, I had the privilege of being asked to attend two births at the end of August. My family have been very understanding and supportive and so the festival holiday season came to an end slightly earlier than planned.
Its been a lovely working summer doing antenatals outside in the sunshine and visiting past clients and this week I was called to attend not one but two beautiful births. I feel so lucky to be able to continue to work in this way. My family are so supportive and my job does not really feel like work. In my "Office hours" I have also been looking at my paperwork and developing a sliding scale of fees for my clients. I understand that the cost of Independent midwifery can be a struggle for some families and so i have developed a structure that I believe to be fair, making things affordable for families. If you would like further information then please contact me directly. I hope you are all enjoying this bank holiday weekend. Lizzie xx
Independent midwifery was something that always interested me, long before I applied to be a midwife I decided I wanted to be self employed and carry my own case load of women. I did not know how complicated this would be and had no idea there was a group of midwives known as Independent Midwives UK that worked in this way.
I have always been slightly alternative and am not one to follow the crowd. Being self employed appealed to me because of being able to work as little or as much as I like, allowing for creativity in other areas of my life, and being answerable and accountable to myself and my clients. After being accepted onto a degree course and beginning to train as a midwife I quickly became aware that my ambitions and dreams were not common. The majority of people wanted a stable job within the NHS and did not quite understand why I would want to work differently. I also became aware that the general consensus was to stay in the NHS for a few years to consolidate your practice once you have qualified.
As I approached the end of my course there were not many days where I did not contemplate what I would do once I had qualified. I found working in the NHS satisfying in some ways and challenging in others. I felt that each time I was seeing a small piece of the jigsaw, but never the full picture. I was inspired by the documentary "The Business of Being Born" and fell in love with a midwife working independently in new york. I decided that I wanted to grow to become just like her. I was able to experience case loading as part of the degree course and I was extremely lucky to case load a woman with an Independent midwife.
The experience was soul enriching and I knew I had found my true calling. After much deliberation I knew that, once qualified, this was the way that I would work. It was completely different from midwifery within the hospital setting and most importantly I felt supported in this role and not alone. As an Independent midwife I am regulated the same way as an NHS employee, I have a supervisor of midwives to ensure I am fit to practice and a certain amount of CPD and practice hours that I have to complete to remain on the professional register.
If I had stayed within the NHS i would have been given a preceptor to help me when I needed support for the first 12-18 months but essentially I would have been a midwife working in a very busy setting. As an Independent midwife, building up a small caseload, I have far more time to study and most importantly I have a huge support network of very knowledgeable midwives I can phone any time of day or night for advice and support.
Independent midwives do not work compleetly alone, they support each other, like being in a big midwifery family. I always have a second midwife I can call to attend a birth with me and have benefited greatly from being a second midwife for other people. Since I qualified I have been honoured that women have trusted me with their care during pregnancy and I am looking forward to a busy future.
Lizzie Mackay RM BSC (Hons) Midwifery
Providing private midwifery care across Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire
"It was like having a very dear friend help me bring my daughter into the world and because of this I felt safe and could totally relax and trust my own body and allow the process of birthing unfold naturally and in its own time."