I was born in Japan and lived there until I was ten. Most of my adolescence was spent here in Australia; I went to Newtown High School of Performing Arts, and was a budding dancer and actor. I ended up moving to the United States, where I completed my first degree whilst auditioning and acting at the same time.
I lived in the United States for seven years. It was in New York when I realised that I wanted to do something that I was not only passionate about, but that fulfilled me each day.
I was teaching yoga and was completing my prenatal yoga teacher training when I delved into women’s reproductive health. It made me realise how little I knew about my own body as a woman. This sparked my desire to learn more and to support women through, not just health, but also in family and society.
At that time, I decided to study medicine and so, returned to Australia. In my med school interviews, when asked why I wanted to be a doctor – no words came out of my mouth. I couldn’t speak, even though I had rehearsed for months. This wasn’t my truth. I didn’t want to be a doctor, I wanted to support women through physiological birth and integrate complementary medicine into my practice. Although painful at the time, discovering this was an incredible blessing for me.
I decided upon Midwifery. Midwifery is more than clinical skills and knowledge; it encompasses the spiritual and the emotional wellbeing of women. Women are open to using complementary therapies. As a midwife, you need to take a holistic view of women. You need to consider the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical aspects of women. That is why midwifery appealed to me: all the reasons I wanted to apply for medicine are still all the reasons I want to be a midwife. I want to be able to support women through natural, physiological birth.
The most rewarding thing in midwifery is to just be with women and to help them discover who they are. Asking women what is important to them, and watching them realise their priorities during the time you spend with them, is incredible.
I have also noticed that I am now able to better connect with other women, not only as a midwife, but in daily life. Just by saying I am a midwifery student breaks down barriers between me and other women, allowing for greater trust and connection. Studying midwifery has exposed me to learning from women of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
I chose to study at UTS because the facilities are excellent – the simulation labs are incredible. UTS pushes the boundaries. There is a great blend of practical work and theoretical study – the academics teaching Midwifery are leaders in their field. They give you a great introduction into the possibilities in midwifery as they are all contributing to the body of research in different ways. Our academics as well as the guest lecturers are so inspiring, and though they all have different backgrounds, they are all midwives.
Working as a midwife has also pushed my communication skills. I have learned to be succinct in my verbal communication, particularly in hospital settings, as well as adaptable – you have to suit your communication style to the relevant audience, which has been an interesting process.
Not only that, I’ve been pushed in my written communication. Writing medical notes is a skill in itself, just as academic writing is a skill. Both are emphasised in this degree. That’s the beauty of studying Midwifery – you have the opportunity to work on your verbal and written communication skills in different contexts and for different audiences.
In the future, I would love to work in both a clinical and research setting. Being exposed to these two areas of midwifery opens up so many possibilities. My plan is to stay in the academic world and complete an Honours degree while also working part-time in a hospital.
What is great about this degree is that self-care is emphasised, even though it may be hard to practice. Think about the things you love outside of midwifery and try to develop self-care habits that you can sustain through your degree. Friendships are also important – keep in touch with your midwifery friends and with your outside-of-midwifery friends.
My final piece of advice is to write everything down. That is the one thing I wish I did more; looking back on my first year now, I wish I wrote more so that I could reflect on my progress and journey as a midwife.
Find out more about studying Midwifery at UTS.