Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Story Telling - a dancing student midwife

If you have been reading my ramblings for any amount of time then you know that I really can witter on. More recently my writing has been restricted to university essays so I don't write here as much as I would like to but I was inspired of late to come on here and have a bit of a muse.

The thing is, is I come from a long line of witterers, or as I prefer to call us (sounds kinder somehow), storytellers. It's highly likely to be the Irish in me though and I know this apple didn't fall far from the tree that is my Dad.

For as long as I can remember, family gatherings have always, and I do mean always, ended with us sat around a table or cuddled on sofas, telling stories of 'The Family'. Some of them I've noticed have evolved over the years, possibly embellished, possibly just added to as more of us have added dimensions to the story. New stories have crept in and I noticed with pleasure that a couple have crept in which involve my husband (of 11.5 years!) so that can only mean that he really is a part of the family now.

It doesn't seem to matter that the stories are told over and over. It feels to me while we are sharing family and friend memories that we are reminding each other of our connections. Of our shared experiences. Of the reasons why we enjoy each others company. Of sad times when we looked after each other and supported one another. Of times when we laughed so hard we cried... or ended up in A&E (invariably over Christmas but thats another story).

I've noticed my eldest start to join in and listen and laugh along which is brilliant to see because I feel that these stories are part of the glue that keeps us together and makes us stronger as a family (and extended family of wonderful friends) and more stable because we know each other well.

So I have been thinking about storytelling a lot lately, not only in my family situation either but in my midwifery world too. I've discovered that women love to tell their story. In fact they need to tell it. I've listened to women in labout tell me about previous births, about their labour so far, their dramas to getting to the hospital, of choosing names, of family reactions. It's like an unconscious way of making a connection with me, a connection which is essential for trust in pregnancy, labour and birth.

It's an amzing priviledge to be drawn into others stories and it is partly this that draws me to midwifery. It's hard to know sometimes what exactly I can do particularly as a first year, but connecting and enabling women to tell their stories,, being there while they create new ones... and to be a part of their stories forever is extraordinary. One day a woman will be telling her birth story to her family and she'll say something like "And there was this student midwife...".

How cool is that?

'My Dancing Student Midwife'

I have a short story about a student midwife - the CTG monitor I was wearing during my labout with my 2nd son kept slipping and for various reasons the midwife wanted a continuous trace. So the only option was for this student to press it to the right angle on my bump. The only way she could do that as I was standing up, was to stand very close and almost hug me. And I was swaying with my contractions. So what do I remember about that student midwife? She basically danced with me for 3 hours. I'll never forget her and she is part of my story, and my sons story.