I thought this would be forever.
Coming home from a home birth 4am in the morning, tired and emotional. Wanting to talk through my birth with someone, why I am panicking, what is on my mind. But I have nobody to talk to except my little 6 month old rabbit. Therefore, I’m unable to get to sleep. My mind is swimming.
What was on my mind? It was not at all the beautiful birth I have just seen which I was in absolute awe of the woman and amazed to see her go through something so amazing. My anxiety was telling me, I shouldn’t have smiled that way, did I say the right things? will she transfer her care postnatally? I’m going to get sued, I’m going to loose my pin. Shall I message Sarah? No she will think I’m over reacting. I go through the whole birth, from first call to goodbyes. It was perfect nothing is wrong. What if she has a secondary PPH? Is my phone diverted correctly? What if she calls and my buddy doesn’t answer because she’s in the shower and now the lady is bleeding out. Grace stop.
I am in pain from my Endometriosis and I have “birth pool back”. Ok Grace, take a codeine – Brain “you’ll get addicted”, “what if you don’t wake up from it?”, “you’re overreacting about your pain”. So I go downstairs grab a hot water bootle and the rabbit and cry (Buddy the rabbits favourite as he loves the taste of salty tears). Now my mind is else where “what happens if the rabbit dies?” “What if I cannot have children?” ” Why doesn’t Jake want children now?” “Does he love me?”(of course he does). The next irrational thought swims my mind now I am breathing heavy and struggling to catch my breath. “Why can’t I cope?”…
This is just within 2 hours. All these thoughts swimming. I mean, it does not happen every day. Some days I’m the cockiest newly qualified midwife you’ll meet. My brain tells me “YOU ARE AMAZING” “YOU ARE THE SUPERWOMAN OF MIDWIFERY AND WOMENS HEALTH”. Then I try and get to sleep and I’m the worst person in the world.
With my job the women have a lot of choice (which it should be). They decide what they want in their care and we give them all the information they need to have that informed choice. Some women do not like our service, some feel it’s too much having the same midwife come to your house and befriend all your pets. Some women decide they don’t want me as a midwife, they don’t like me or do not like the way their care is going. That’s okay. I totally respect their decision. I have had a few make comments about my age and how I seem too young. That’s fine, I accept that. However, anxiety doesn’t. Huge breakdowns on how I feel about my job, being a midwife. It makes me feel so insecure. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t they like me? Sat writing this right now, I can tell myself that not everybody will like me, and that is ok. However, thinking back to some women who I thought I bonded with, that transferred care because I had to change an appointment due to a birth or the sonographer was off ill, I get the most awful stomach pitting sensation.
The feelings I get I feel are irrational. I feel I over react, I’m over emotional and sensitive and that nobody understands. They do!
It may seem like a crazy reason to leave this model of care, to leave what I know. However, I need home. I need family. I need to get home from a birth and be able to wake Jake up and be talked out of a panic attack or just talk about my fears. I am lonely here. As much as I love my work, the women and my colleagues it’s just not enough. I need to focus on me and my anxiety. So I’m still going to be a midwife, I’m still going to have my beliefs and ensure the women get their informed choices but I will be home. I will be working for a NHS trust, I will be having clinics and less on call. Yes that seems perfect, no longer on call 6 days a week, but now my anxiety is hitting “what if I cannot keep to appointment times”, “what if they think I’m a rubbish midwife?”.
All I have to remember is that I’m 23. 23. You’re 23 Grace.
Life doesn’t have to be fixed now. You don’t need to settle and have a baby and a mortgage and a ring. My fertility isn’t going to disappear overnight – Touch wood. I don’t have to be excelling in my career. If I make a mistake it’s okay, I’m young and I can do this. Nothing is a rush. Enjoy where you are. Now tell anxiety that.