Edit: As at 09 April 2021 I am no longer offering intrapartum care but I am now offering antenatal...
Slight change of plan. After second, third and fourth thoughts, I decided not to renew my registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). So as from 27th April 2021 I am no longer a Registered Midwife. To help me make this decision I meditated, I journaled extensively, I consulted the tarot, talked it through with friends (particular thanks to Dee Coe) and I also wrote an article (for Lynn Genevieve’s Midwives Voices project) on what it means to me to be radical. I had thought I could manage a little bit of clinical work as a registered midwife, but it turns out that I cannot. I am not quite sure why. It is partly because (as I keep telling everyone) I want to concentrate on my PhD and my memoir. And it is very true that these are my work priorities. But there is something else. I have been struggling with how to support women’s choices wholeheartedly, without bombarding them with ideas of risk about birth. I am also just weary! I’m exhausted and that might be as much to do with recovering from physical illness as anything more existential. Whatever the reason, this currently feels absolutely right for me, and very liberating.
I am not sure where I go from here. I do know I will continue with my writing and my Creative Writing PhD. As part of this, I am writing a memoir that tells the story of my daughter’s birth and death, and how her life and the lives of my other children influenced my life and my work as a midwife. It feels as if I am honouring her by writing her story and so that is my current priority. I am also researching life writing about birth by mothers and midwives, and making some fascinating discoveries that will form part of my PhD thesis.
I am not sure if I will be able to be involved with births at all anymore but if I am, it will be as a birthkeeper rather than a registered midwife. I am still a midwife at heart, if not registered! How my future is going to pan out is a mystery (isn’t it always?) but I do have a sense of rightness, of peace. I am sorry to those clients and former clients who have been confused by my indecisiveness over the last few months about whether I can assist them; all I can say is that this is a time of transition for me and I trust that you will find the right path for you and I wish I could have supported you more. Maybe I will apply to reregister when I have a bit more energy. Or perhaps the registered part of my life is behind me. I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all my previous clients who honoured me with their trust, and to my wonderful dedicated colleagues, friends and family who supported me throughout 24 years of midwifery (both clinical and research) since I began my training in 1997. I am looking forward to the next stage of the adventure of life!