Just stop it (an open letter to myself)


Dear Heather,


At the risk of sounding like a trite meme: you are enough. You are so enough it’s incredible how enough you are.

I know you have been keeping a journal for the past week (you wrote in it every day too, kudos), and I know the main theme. You constantly compare yourself to others, and seek their approval.

Aren’t you tired? Rhetorical, obvs, because, well, I am you.


Someone runs a busier, more efficient clinic? So what?

You’re way heavier than you were 8 years ago, well, yeah, that’s how life goes sometimes.

The entire world is engaged and/or married and/or pregnant. The fact that you are writing this means you need to focus on one person for a while, yooooou.

Bored of being at home and missing “Home”? Then get out and do things – you can’t expect the mountain to come to you without writing it an invitation.


Look, Instagram and Facebook are the absolute best at making us feel the worst; people rarely describe exactly how inadequate they felt at work, the arguments they have had with their significant other, mis-behaving hair, or any of the other bull shit.

It doesn’t mean that this isn’t happening, it just means that they are being positive, or faking it til they make it.

Seriously, stop being so hard on yourself


Heather (the sensible voice that actually gets drowned out by that other spiteful voice in your head waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much)



Here’s to the dads.



(^ Oxytocin – the closest thing to magic that is produced by the human body)


Here’s to the dads whose faces light up when they first lay eyes upon their son or daughter as they arrive in this world.

Here’s to the dads who visibly marvel at the women who have grown and nurtured this baby with their own bodies.

Here’s to the dads who openly weep as their emotions find no words to carry them.

Here’s to the dads who worry that their own giddy state will cause them to lop off a child’s limb as you gently indicate where they can cut the umbilical cord.

Here’s to the dads who share in their partner’s joy at the wriggling, confused human before them.

Here’s to the dads who hold these children with equal parts love and strength and a commitment to never let harm come to them.

Here’s to the dads who ask you jovially: “What’s that in English?” as you tell them the weight of their child in grammes, so that they can share the news with impatiently waiting family and friends.

Here’s to the dads whose faces are nothing short of incredulous as you handle their baby confidently and carefully to check that there are all the bits there visibly should be, and none of the bits there shouldn’t.

Here’s to the dads who look at a nappy with the eyes of someone whose just been given a project with no instructions, or pattern to follow, but does it anyway and does a fine job

Here’s to the dads who hold baby aloft like Rafiki, only to hear that rumble of thunder from that clean nappy.

Here’s to the dads who apologise for every question that they think they should already know.

Here’s to the dads who all have the same face when those tiny fingers wrap themselves around his own, seemingly giant finger.

Here’s to the dads who don’t call looking after their own child “babysitting”

Here’s to the dads who don’t hunt down the teenager who breaks their son’s heart

Here’s to the dads who show their daughters that they deserve respect and equality

Here’s to the dads who teach their children about consent, and love.

Here’s to the dads who do the job of an absent mother

Here’s to the dads who are actually mums who stepped up

Here’s to the dads whom are there from their child’s first breath

Here’s to the dads who have to witness their child’s last breath

Here’s to the dads who stay silent in a birth room, like the heart beat of their child whom they’ve never met.

Here’s to the dads who don’t know what to say to the woman they love as she births this baby born sleeping with everything that she is

Here’s to the dads who only get to hold their babies for what seems like a nanosecond. A drop in the ocean compared with what should be a childhood of firsts

Here’s to the dads who will never get to hold their daughters hoping to heal their broken hearts

Here’s to the dads who will never get to read their sons a bedtime story

Here’s to the dads who would trade everything to hear their own child laugh

Here’s to the dads.

Here’s to all of you.


Thank you for letting me a part of your lives, even just for a short time. I mean it when I say it’s a privilege to have witnessed you becoming a father


MHJ xxx


Not about politics. Promise

Sup, followers / casual readers?


Apologies for the silence for the past couple of weeks, but I have been doing the do. aka being a midwife.

I know, I know, other midwives manage to blog and be amazing and change the world overnight – but I’m here feeling like I’ve won the day if I remember to take my work shoes to work.
Which I didn’t yesterday.

I’ve mentioned before that my new job is in a Trust which is not where I trained, and while the core principles are the same, subtle and savage differences have left me feeling like a 2nd year student on a couple of occasions.

The most reassuring thing is that I work with colleagues who pretty much tell me “Heather, same same, but different, but same!”. A crisis of confidence is causing this – I keep second guessing myself – I rattle off my plans to anyone who will listen and then look for someone who will cannulate (I can’t yet), set up IVs (I can’t yet), sort out the online prescribed drugs (awaiting IT thumbs up), descend like an angel to do an ARM through a woman’s 1-2cm dilated cervix (thank you, AO!).

Basically, I feel like a freaking burden in a lot of ways at the minute, and that vindictive voice in the back of my head (the one I have gagged for months and months by feeling like I’m winning a bit) has woken up with a fresh batch of disdain and vitriol at the ready.

Essentially, care of the woman is the same wherever you are, but there is no denying that correct and accurate record keeping, ANTT, and policy is essential.

I need to stop being so bloody hard on myself, but with no peers at the minute (everyone has at least 6 months more experience), it’s difficult to gauge my progress.

My Bishop’s score is approximately 2. And I need to get a fucking grip

Bleeping Edna…



MHJ xx

Diary of a Newly Qualified Midwife: Day 5

Day 5: “Hello, Labour Ward, Midwife”

Yep. I uttered those words today and I’m damned if I didnt get a lump in my throat just after I did.

That’s the first time I’ve ever said that phrase and I know I’ve banged on about feeling like a fraud, and worrying about having forgotten everything, but that short sentence triggered something in me today.

I’m here. I’ve made it. Now it’s time to realise it.

I’m not going to disclose details about the women I’ve been a part of caring for today, suffice to say that my much commented upon “you talk a lot” way of practicing (aye, there were some mentors who think bedside manner is an optional extra) was very well received by all three.

Smug much? Yeah. I am. 

What I love about working where I’ve started my career is that not only are we seeing a lot of women with complex co-morbidities  (stuff wot is wrong with them), but the staff are outrageously helpful and generous with their time.and manner. Thank goodness! 

I may have passed the toilet 3 times before I realised where the toilet was, but I’m also starting to gather my bearings. Which even just at the start of the week, I never thought I would manage.  Watch this space, and expect a blog post in the not too distant future which may come from a locked stationery cupboard. Probably.

I worked with a midwife today who is soon off to the hospital where I trained so we were swapping knowledge and acclimatising one another. There was lovely staff room conversation about a summer event so that newbies and multi disciplinary teams, and core staff can intermingle – there is talk of bavarian beer venues and much fun. I am so up for that.

But as well as the kindness of people, there was the professionalism – I was spoken to as a professional and given directions and care plans by doctors because I am a midwife and … it still took a while to click.

However that wondrous utterance of the sentence on the phone, was surpassed only by signing my name in notes, printing it…and putting (RM).

I currently love life

H xx

Diary of  a Newly Qualified Midwife: Day 4


Since Tuesday when I got my timetable, I have been dreading today. Yes. Two days. 

PROMPT, for those who don’t know, is PRactical Obstetric Multi Professional Training. Doctors, midwives, and students come together and have a couple of seminars and practical exercises in the morning, and then in the afternoon you are plonked into unfolding scenarios – each being an obstetric emergency, with potential differential diagnoses.

Your mission (and you *have* to accept it, so suck it up, buttercup) is to use the skills base in your TEAM to identify the diagnosis and act and treat the woman, and/or child.

Amma just hiiiiide in this bag. Kthxbai

It’s ok for me to have been crapping myself over it; I havent practised in a while, and other people who *have* were there and I was worried I would finally be outed as the fraud I still feel I am. 

So that didn’t happen, I confidently resolved a shoulder dystocia 

(Image: https://www.babycentre.co.uk/i/article/shoulder_dystocia_colour-2.gif)

I assisted a woman to birth her breech baby…well an interactive model of a pelvis and legs and baby

How breech babies lie (image: https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/blogs-prod-media/us/uploads/2015/07/27102220/breech-baby-position-650×446.jpg)

And resuscitated various size humans – also mannequins.

This was not an emergency, but “baby in a bag” is one I would resolve, because I’m professional like that 

The afternoon went pretty swimmingly, and I assumed my role as junior midwife, taking on tasks I was assigned and feeling comfortable but constatly listening to those more experienced to learn the care planning.

You know what? I knew way more than I thought I did, and never felt stupid asking any questions. That is why days like this work: they’re a practical learning environment where it’s ok to stop and ask questions.

This is a day where we refresh our knowledge on how to take action when a situation deviates from normal. 

Yeah, I said normal. Deal with it.

H xx

Diary of a Newly Qualified Midwife: Day 3

Day 3: Lady bits

Should I have rephrased that? Something more professional? Ok. 

Day 3: Suturing and catheterisation.

Due to my diverse employment history, I have professional sewing experience. While you may laugh at the fact that it was in The Bear Factory, it enabled me to learn how to bring fur-lined edges together.

And yes, I’ve worn the suit.

I enjoyed suturing at Uni and as a student, but it’s been a hell of long time since I was needle in clamp, so my needle point was more geared to this

(A favourite quote of mine, by the way)

Annnnnyway, after having a session using the needle clamps and tongs and feeling like I was in a really specific Japanese gameshow, I felt much better about knots and layers. Yay me.

Catheterisation is something I know and can do, (I’ve done it in theatre with a whole team waiting for me and I didnt die. That’s a big deal) so no great shakes there – and as we don’t have to deal with penises, it’s a lot simpler. I have, however, been on a previous hunt for a woman’s urethra. I know where it *should* be, but goddamn if I could find that little bugger.

More e-learning in the afternoon and then home to find my PrOMPT book in one of a dozen boxes yet to be unpacked as it’s obstetric emergencies day tomorrow.

Obstetric emergencies got me like this:

So I might be in a puddle tomorrow.

H xx

Diary of a Newly Qualified Midwife: Day 2

Day 2: Unit orientation

Today was very different from yesterday indeed.

I met a couple of dozen lovely people who are my new colleagues ( I am a midwife, I am a midwife, I am a midwife), I got to see another lovely woman from my uni cohort as I was taken on the full tour of the unit and I discovered I already knew all the names of everyone in my induction group…because it’s just me!

That’s right. Billy No Mates RM

So when I first realised this, I felt a bit like I was a nuisance as everyone was giving me individual tutelage on various aspects of the job. Then I realised what a privilege it is as all the questions are mine, the equipment is mine and I could stay in one or two rooms for induction as I only require one seat (despite my best efforts at McDonald’s).

We talked about rotas and holiday and pay schedules (I am a midwife, I am a midwife, I am a midwife). I got a great paperwork pack and everyone I met was hugely welcoming. I surprised a consultant by returning his French conversation with my own (not too shabby) French and not being laughed at although I may now have to increase my obstetrics vocabulary.

I left to head to Paperchase to get a file for my competency paperwork and documentation and was still managing to feel like a fraud and abit overwhelmed with informatjon and floor plans (I am a midwife. I am a midwife. I am a midwife) when I encountered an actual puppy

and suddenly everything was ok 🙂

Tomorrow I have a suturing workshop (whaddup, Bear Factory skills?!), catheterisation refresher, and a small mountain or e-learning to crack on with. An e-mountain. Not Everest.

Looking forward to it!

Diary of a Newly Qualified Midwife: Day 1

Day 1. Trust Induction 

Had the speakers not been engaging and charismatic, this would have been Death by PowerPoint. 

From the effervescent host with the magenta flashes of hair (you can guess why I liked that!) to the RC Chaplain. He told us a couple of stories; that of a woman in her 80s who was in great emotional distress while in hospital as her husband of forever had handed a letter to her nurses to give to her. 

He left her with a letter

But the second, cheerier highlight of his segment was him explaining that there were locks on some prayer rooms as he’d had to advise a young lad and his three female companions that it was not a room for frolicks – and while latching the door might have saved their blushes, not pulling the curtains was a rookie mistake.

Infection control visited and showed us the massive drop in cases of MRSA and C-Diff that had occurred by implementing very simple hand washing and anti- cross contamination measures. We had our hands squirted with goo that showed up under UV (quiet in the back there, this is a respectable establishment) and were sent off to the bathrooms to scrub our hands for UV inspection. Upon waiting in the long line of women, we all witnessed a woman exit a toilet cubicle, see there were a couple of dozen people waiting to wash hands…and exit the bathroom.

You couldn’t make it up.

A clinical Trust Induction arrived in the afternoon and the diverse group of attendees ranging from ER nurses, paediatric nurses, HCAs and I were introduced to scenarios on a video clip of dramatised shitty care. Included a lonley, ignored older gentleman and made me want to scream at the screen. I did not.

Finally – e-learning. It was like the stuff we had to do in uni, the edge being taken off the manual handling slides by the fact I was being paid to look at them.

I met with one of the women from my cohort who now works there and it was amazing to see the change in her. So confident and settled – gave me hope that I might not be out of my depth after all. I’ve been so nervous but seeing her was a tonic, she made things sound straightforward and achievable.


Setting Sail

Have I mentioned I hate moving house? No? Well I do.

It reminds me how easily I accumulate crapola, and how I have to sift through it to make sure I’m not just trailing it all over the place like a big trash heap from Fraggle Rock. 

Also, and I think this is important to consider before you try and placate me with “new start new job new home new blah blah blah” I have moved home 12 times – 4 of those within the last 5 years. It’s not fun – and it’s known to be one of the top ten most stressful things you can do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about living in a new home and finally living with my doggies again; I’m looking forward to discovering new places to walk and run, and to eat! I’m hoping that the local pubs will turn out to be lovely and dog-friendly. I am, of course, mainly looking forward to making my long-distance relationship a very short-distance one. 

My new role is at the excellent maternity hospital, and isn’t too far a drive from home, but of course that will come with all the new girl worries, as well as different Trust policies, and hierarchy, and extention numbers, and corridors, and keys and argh!!!!

I’m going to miss my friends and will increase my FOMO 100-fold, as events and shows come and go on my Facebook, and photos of people having an excellent time doing everything litter my timeline.

Yes I will make new friends, and join new groups and do new things, but it’s inescapable to fear being forgotten, in a way.

And yet, today, I suddenly feel ready. Ready to start a new adventure, to meet new challenges and to carve out a path for myself whereby I can do what I have wanted to for years:

Live a simple, relatively normal, everyday life.

Most of my belongings are packed, and the removal van is booked. I finish my career at McDonald’s on Sunday, and I have a week to tie up loose ends.

But, I’m ready. Let’s do dis 
H xxx

Strong Women Build Each Other Up

When I say 43%, to what could I be referring? Remain voters? Hillary voters? 

I’ll be more specific. 43% of midwives and student midwives have had this happen to them. Something that has been experienced of half of all of them.

Amniotic fluid facial? Perhaps it’s babies named after them?

Any guesses? Ok. It’s bullying.

43% of midwives and students have been been bullied by their colleagues or management. 

May I say to those bullying  (on behalf of everyone else) What the fucking fuck are you fucking playing at?

We are in the sphere of supporting women and their familes and you are unable to do that for your own colleagues? Look we all feel annoyed by people or the things that people do or say (and some times it’s hard to bite it back); but as an over thinker myself who bends to the will of others in a bid to appease…well, stop being unkind.

What do people get from it? There’s the old adage that blowing out someone’s candke does not make yours burn any brighter, but metaphors aside, the snide comments of a person to impressionable people, or vulnerable one can cut like a knife.

There are other forms of bullying of course: systematic undermining of practice, like pushing a midwife to carry as much as she is able and to work autonomously – yet telling her she is over confident without the skills to back it up. That’s just wholly confusing – especially if the women she is caring for respond well to her care.

So people should stand up for themselves, right? Or follow an appropriate course of redress. 

Of the three people I have known who did just this, all of them were then subjected to the most awful treatment when the information surfaced. Midwives who had previously criticised one another behind backs, suddenly closed ranks and became openly derogatory to the person in question.

There lies at least one of the problems, people’s moral compasses are off; friendships mean more than what is right, it seems. It’s hard for people to stand against such bloody mindedness and what subsequently happens is they become homogenised – its classic Mean Girls syndrome. People would rather assimilate with what is wrong to avoid being left out or victimised themselves – and this has got to change.

There needs to be a cultural shift where doing what is right is prized above being popular, or “included”, then the homogenisation would be positive! 

We have to choose between doing what is easy and doing what is right. 

Time to advocate for each other 
H xxx