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How long can midwives be midwives?

June 30, 2013

The NHS is changing.  The UK appears to be in financial crisis and I won’t get my state pension until I am 67 years old.

Where does that leave me as an employee in the NHS. A clinically active midwife in a very stressful, physically and mentally challenging post but wondering how long that can last.

When I was younger I could do whatever I wanted. Get into strange positions to assist the woman wherever she chose to be. I attended many 2nd stages practically upside down.   I could work for hours and maintain concentration and effectiveness often working through breaks because it was better for the woman. Staying late to complete births and paperwork and being ready and raring to go the next day.

Now I am older I am not as physically able to meet the needs of the woman. I know when my back aches after assisting breastfeeding. My feet hurt after standing for hours supporting a woman in labour.  I get hot and need to drink more often and go to the loo more often. I still try and do my best to accommodate the woman’s wishes but I also have to think of the day after and will I be able to care for someone else.  I don’t insist on her birthing on the bed but I know some colleagues do. My memory is not as good as it used to be and I have to keep referring to the notes to ensure all is well.  Just to check , ‘she is rhesus positive and what was her last Hb again?’  I have to check and recheck again any medication – my variofocal spectacles enabling me to see.

But if this is me in my fifties what am I going to be like in my 60’s.  Midwifery is a very demanding role and I have loved it for over 25yrs but it has taken it’s toll and I am worried about my ability to retain the physicality that is necessary. I try and keep fit and eat the right things but middle age is challenging on the body and the mind.

I will endeavour to remain fit and well and offer the best care to women and their families. But till 67 I don’t thing so!

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