Twenty seven years ago, I received the letter I was hoping for-the letter telling me that I had passed. A whole new world had opened up to me and I couldn't wait to start my journey as a midwife.
That journey took me to several different parts of the country and gave me so many life-enhancing experiences, some where the wonder of life made my eyes fill with tears of happiness, some where the sadness was so profound I found myself crying with parents and sharing their grief.
Happy, sad, hilariously funny, anxious and stressful, sleep-deprived and miraculous, the experiences I have had have shaped the person I am today. I will never forget the first baby I helped into the world. I will never forget the first baby boy I held who had been born sleeping at full term. I have been happy, sad, anxious, stressed and at one point fell out of love with my chosen profession due to the demands, the over-medicalisation and the lack of appreciation.
I'm happy to say that I've fallen back in love-of course there are many problems with the profession and I worry about the future and the care women and babies receive due to lack of funding, cuts in bursaries for student midwives, increased medicalisation and more complicated pregnancies creating a heavier workload on an already stretched service.
But the word midwife literally means "with woman" and that is the thing that gets me out of bed and into work. The most precious times of my career have been those times when I have connected with a woman at her most vulnerable and supported her, encouraged her, shared her joys and her sorrows and marvelled at how incredible she is.
Today, despite everything, I will celebrate being a midwife, sage femme, supporter of women.
Happy international day of the midwife to all my fellow wise women and men around the world!