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Becoming a mother: cultural influences on the transition to parenthood

Katherine O’Neill

Third year student midwife at Birmingham City University; now a qualified midwife

 (October 2016)

This reflection analyses the postnatal care provided to Sheena*, a primigravid Indian woman, and her transition to motherhood. This included challenges she faced forming an attachment with her daughter, which appeared to be exacerbated by an unusual lack of family support. This care episode was chosen because it challenged me as a student midwife and enabled me to gain an understanding of the impact that culture has on mother-baby attachment. Reflecting upon the care provided during this care episode provided me with the knowledge and skills to facilitate the transition to parenthood for women under my future care.

Reflecting on care using a patchwork text framework: my role in Amandeep’s transition to parenting

Roisin Bailey

PhD Researcher and Assistant Lecturer at Birmingham City University

 (October 2016)

A disheartening episode of care on a postnatal placement provided me with the impetus to develop this reflection in order to examine my own clinical practice and professional development. It began as part of Supporting transitions to parenting, an undergraduate midwifery module created by Dr Helen McIntyre. This module focused on building strategies to better support women and their families to achieve a smooth transition to parenting, particularly those with complex or additional needs. The patchwork text construct provided a basis for a multi-faceted approach to reflection, inclusive of the woman’s lived experience.

The transition from student to newly qualified midwife

Ellie Walledge

Midwife at Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley

Alison Arrowsmith

Midwife at St Michael's Hospital in Bristol

 (October 2016)

Ellie Walledge and Alison Arrowsmith qualified in 2015, during a time of massive uncertainty within NHS maternity services. One year on, they are keen to share their experiences to help the next generation of midwives survive their first year. This article provides much-needed and long-awaited guidance on preparing for the transition from student to midwife, helping newly qualified midwives avoid some of the pitfalls of being inadequately prepared. The authors conclude that, by putting a few well-judged strategies in place, newly qualified midwives can not only survive their first year, but lay the foundations for a long and happy career.

LAST WORD Feeling my way through

Sophie Hall

Second Year Student Midwife at York University

 (October 2016)

Second year student midwife Sophie Hall reflects on how to incorporate intuition into factual learning and practical experience - the feelings alongside the facts.  

Do you have any children?

Sarah Kelly

Midwife in the Jane Crookall Maternity Unit, Isle of Man

 (December 2014)

“Do you have any children?” It is a question often posed by the expectant mother as the midwife tends to their needs. For some, this enquiry may lead to an empathetic exchange and relationship building, while other midwives may shudder when they hear this question. Sadly, professional codes and boundaries do not always assist in the guidance of this exchange. Using Gibbs’ reflective cycle (1998) as a framework, this article initially explores my motivations for the selection of responses I have used as a bereaved mother and midwife. Evaluation and analysis of these different approaches has given me an insight into how successfully they preserve the rapport I try to nurture with my clients but also how they might affect me. The reflective process has enabled me to understand how best to tackle the enquiry in future to safeguard my own feelings and that of the client, coming to the conclusion that honesty and truth-telling is probably the best practice.

Witnessing the art of woman-centred care by an exceptional mentor

Joanna Lake

Third year student midwife at Bournemouth University

 (September 2014)

Using Gibb’s (1998) reflective cycle, I have reflected on an experience I had as a first year student midwife working in the community setting. I met Hannah (name changed in accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2008) guidelines relating to confidentiality) on several occasions and found that she had a great relationship with my midwife-mentor, despite her wishes falling outside of trust guidance and her feeling pressurised, by some, not to have a home birth. I analysed the relationship between Hannah and my midwife-mentor using three pairs of concepts that Lundgren and Berg (2007) considered to be essential for building sustainable, mutually-productive relationships between women and midwives: differenceness – support uniqueness; trust - mediation of trust; and participation – mutuality. I concluded that mimicking and adopting many of my mentor’s characteristics, as shown in her relationship with Hannah, would benefit me and the women in my care.

WHAT ABOUT NEXT TIME? A SERIES OF REFLECTIONS Well advised: a journey to breastfeeding success

Jude Davis

Community midwife and in a freestanding midwife-led birth centre in central London

 (September 2014)