My name is Zali, and I’m in my second year of midwifery. Growing up, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by extremely encouraging and loving parents, who always told me to reach for the stars. This drove me through my schooling, where I discovered a passion for art and science.
Even though I’m juggling study at university, intense placement blocks and a part-time job, I try to catch up with friends for coffee. Plus, I love visiting new exhibitions at the art gallery and I am guilty of watching very trashy medical dramas and pointing out how far from the true depiction they really are!
Growing up, I always had so much respect and admiration for health care workers, as they have been a part of my life for a very long time. My dad was constantly in and out of hospital when I was younger as he battled cancer, and during my teenage years, we received many visits from the ambulance when needing assistance with my dad’s unpredictable type 1 diabetes. In every situation, whether at home with the paramedics, or visiting my dad in hospital, health care workers were always there, ready and willing to help.
During Year 12, I changed my mind nearly every day on what I wanted to do after school. Having both a love for creative arts and science, I decided I would attend a Discover Midwifery event at UTS. It sparked an interest in a degree that I never even considered as an option! Midwifery allowed me to combine my love for helping others, medical science and topics that are depicted heavily in art such as woman’s rights and choices in regards to her own body, in a degree that is so fulfilling and rewarding.
Whenever I tell someone about my degree, I will without a doubt receive one of these replies: “Oh wow that must really turn you off from having kids”, “I had such a bad birth experience” or “What is midwifery?”. These sorts of questions make me so passionate about educating and providing women with evidence-based information so that they can make informed choice on decisions regarding their own bodies and feel empowered whilst having a baby, rather than viewing it as a time of fear. Not only will this create an open dialogue for women to speak freely about their rights as a woman but it allows for the process of having a baby to stop being over-medicalised and ultimately be pared back to something that is innate and transformative.
I chose to study at UTS as it is one of the only universities that offers this course in NSW. As well as this, the cohort each year is capped off at around 60 students so it allows for practical classes that are small and intimate. This leads to more one-on-one time with lab teachers and a greater learning experience, where you feel comfortable asking questions to lecturers who know you by name, rather than just a number, and fellow students who care for you and want to see you succeed.
It doesn’t matter how small of a role you play, whether it be holding a woman’s hand while she is scared, fetching a glass of water for her or doing a simple blood pressure, a woman may forget your name and face but she will never forget how you made her feel and the role you played in her birth story. Not only do you get to see babies be born every single day but you are privileged to help future mothers, fathers, siblings, uncles, aunties and grandparents be born.
I think the biggest thing that has changed since commencing my studies is my confidence. I strongly believe that the only way you can grow and learn is when you are forced into uncomfortable situations. However, instead of being nervous or withholding my thoughts on placement (as I was afraid of being known as the “overbearing student”), I feel comfortable and embraced by my lecturers, fellow peers and future colleagues in the field to ask questions, give advice and be proud of each milestone I undertake in my degree. Whether it be your first birth or tenth, there is always something to learn and each task, whether it seems insignificant at the time or not, is paving the way for me to be a competent, empathetic and caring midwife.
In the future, I would love to travel with my degree and be able to use my midwifery skills to help others in different social, economic and cultural settings.
My advice is this: don’t be afraid. Whether you are coming straight from high school or you have 10 years of experience in another field of work, everyone wants to see you succeed. Make friends with other people in your degree; they will be your backbone after a hard day on placement when you simply need to vent to someone who understands. They will become individuals who care for you like no other. It is a hard degree, but if you are organised, aren’t afraid to be challenged and are committed, you will feel so rewarded.
Find out more about Midwifery at UTS