My journey to midwifery

Sophie Spittle

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Nursing and Midwifery
Course: BSc (Hons) Midwifery
Category: Nursing and midwifery

25 September 2013

I have finished my first year of Midwifery training at Anglia Ruskin University, which to be honest has gone so fast I can hardly believe it’s now September 2013, but I am currently feeling very blessed and very optimistic for the future.

I waited for so long to be a student midwife, and that story is probably my favourite so will share it with you now.

It was when I was 16 and started to think about what options to take for A-Levels that I pondered on the thought of becoming a midwife. I chose A-Levels that would allow me entry onto the course and had a chat with my head of year to let him know this is the path I was considering. I took Biology, Chemistry, Music and Sociology. Every time I would look up info on the course I would get excited and could really imagine myself doing that job. I organised, by myself, to spend the day with a community midwife and I loved it so much. I loved the interaction she had with families and the help she gave and the differences she made. I was set that this was my dream. I know I was only very young but everyone has to dream.

Sadly, part-way through the first year of A-Levels I got really ill and struggled to carry on with my studies. I was tired very often and kept getting cold after cold and high temperatures, and one day I was rushed to hospital on blue lights with suspected meningitis. It turns out I had glandular fever, which is better than meningitis, but not great news for my studies. I had many a meeting with the school to try and work out a plan, and decided to carry on the year and try my best. I failed Chemistry and had to re-take a lot of Biology exams. It was exhausting. I decided at the end of Year 12 to drop Chemistry and take up AS Level English. I struggled on and got mediocre results every time we sat a mock exam. I had a meeting with my head of year who informed me Midwifery was way out of my league now and I should consider a different profession. This was like someone slapped me across the face. There was no compromise, no other routes, just no midwifery full stop. I felt like a failure and had no support in any decisions; I felt lost and had no idea what to do. It never occurred to me to fight for what I wanted and this was before I found my determined side, which is a shame, but everything happens for a reason. I chose Psychology as I had an interest in mental health and decided to go for it, to move away from home and see what happened.

I met Steve in my second year of Psychology. We had been together a few months when he turned to me and said “So what do you wanna do with the rest of your life?” I said I had no idea but always wanted to be a midwife when I was younger. This dream seemed so historic; I was almost embarrassed to say it out loud. What started as a jovial chat turned into a serious discussion of future plans, which I’m sure he was thrilled about and probably wished he never asked me! We started looking up Midwifery courses on UCAS and I found Anglia Ruskin did one in Fulbourn, which was only 20 minutes away from where my parents lived. I said to Steve I did want to go back home as the big city life didn’t really appeal to me and I missed my family. I chose ARU as it had really good completion rates and really positive comments on their website.

To cut a very long story short, I applied to ARU and made what seemed like a million phone calls trying to gain experience in a midwifery setting, but nothing came up. I think I phoned every department in the Rosie to ask if I could spend the day there as work experience, but nothing came of it. I bet they were absolutely sick of me!

The closest I could get was doing night shifts on the early pregnancy ward which turned into a gynaecological ward at night. It wasn’t midwifery, but it was one floor down. I could hear women giving birth at night and hear babies’ first cries, and just wanted to be a part of it so badly. This is around the time I got my determination. I got an interview for December 16th at Fulbourn and went with bells on (not literally). I was so determined, nothing could stop me, and even the foot of snow we had the night before my interview didn’t stop me. Steve drove me in a blizzard that morning and I still got there with an hour to spare and still was determined as ever.

I heard that I had been accepted in the February with the condition that I finished my current degree as evidence that I was able to perform at higher education, even though I didn’t get the right A-Level results. Every feeling I had after the day I got accepted was determination, hope and thankfulness: determination to finish my degree, determination to make it work and determination to become a midwife. I got my second chance and couldn’t be happier. Steve, originally from Surrey, moved to Haverhill with me and we rented a house together after finishing our Psychology degrees. He got a job up here and I started my course, and here we are! He has just been accepted onto a PGCE course at ARU and hopes to become a primary school teacher. I love Midwifery. Sure some days are hell and there are rough times, but who wouldn’t say that after three 12 and a half hour nights in a row? I am so thankful for my second chance and will prove myself to everyone, that I can be a midwife.


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