I was born in South Africa and immigrated to Australia at the age of two. I live with my parents and younger brother in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. My mother works in education and travel, and my father is a musician and IT specialist.
I wanted to study midwifery after both my mother and grandmother experienced complex pregnancies. My mother suffered from severe Pre-Eclampsia (a hypertensive disease of pregnancy) whilst pregnant with me. She became very ill and both of us almost died. My grandmother too had trouble staying pregnant and in order to safely deliver my uncle, was bed-ridden for 22 weeks of her pregnancy. In speaking to them about their experiences, I was inspired to become a midwife and help women in similar situations.
UTS has a wonderful reputation for being practical and providing their graduates with adequate practical experience and skills, that well prepares them for joining the workforce. It was for this reason that I decided to study here.
The course requires students to follow ten women from their first pregnancy appointment at the hospital up until 6 weeks following their birth (including being “on call” for their births). This allows you to form a strong rapport with the women which makes a huge difference in the vulnerable and powerful time of childbirth. Being able to provide continuity of care to these women, which unfortunately is not a type of care available to all women, was incredibly rewarding and I will cherish those experiences for my entire career.
This degree is simultaneously the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever completed. I have changed immensely throughout the course of my degree in ways that I probably couldn’t adequately articulate. Midwifery as a profession requires you to be empathetic and understanding, whilst still being able to be strong and advocate for women. You experience the immense joy of seeing life begin and unfortunately sometimes you also have to see life end. No single day in Midwifery is ever the same and this degree prepares you to develop a variety of skills to allow you to cope with whatever situation that may present itself.
In the future I would love to travel to developing countries providing care and educating midwives/upskilling traditional birth attendants to improve the maternal and neonatal outcomes in these countries. I feel so privileged to have grown up in a country with as much opportunity as Australia has, and to have been given the skills that midwifery has provided me with. Therefore, I really feel it is my responsibility to share this with those less fortunate than I am.
My top tips for future students would be:
- Really engage with your lecturers, educators and supervising midwives. There is so much to learn in this degree and in this career and these people have so much to teach you. So be a sponge and soak it all up.
- Ask questions and never be afraid of “sounding stupid”. The only way to improve your understanding is by questioning.
- Say yes! Take as many opportunities to learn as you can. If a midwife asks if you’d like to do something, as long as it is within your scope of practice, say yes and let them teach you. Don’t be afraid to learn and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
- Look after yourself – this degree is incredibly demanding and time consuming, so recognise when you need down time, eat well and exercise, communicate with your family/friends about what you may need from them and make sure to debrief with your peers and supervisors.
I would like to thank all my lecturers, midwifery supervisors, peers, family and friends for putting up with me and supporting me through this degree! I am so grateful for everyone. And also a big thank you to UTS for awarding me with the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association Prize!