March 1, 2017, by Cara

The Reality of Labour Ward- Week One

My first week on labour ward is complete. I think it is fair to say that I felt somewhat like a fish out of water this week. It has been challenging adapting to long shifts, meeting new faces and understanding the dynamics of labour ward. However, I feel I have learnt so much in such a short space of time already. The weight of the responsibility that midwives have on their shoulders has become even more apparent.


I often stand back wondering how I am ever going to acquire the skill and knowledge to be able to carry the responsibility without letting it get to me too much. I have been told that what seems overbearing now will eventually become second nature. Yet, others have said that even when qualified, the role is still scary. Whilst I required a degree of resilience on community placement, I feel that I need it even more on labour ward. I feel incredibly lucky to have a mentor who asks if I need debriefing after a difficult shift but sometimes the reality of what has been experienced does not always sink in until the adrenalin has worn off and I have had time to reflect. Don’t get me wrong, I love placement, but it is at times somewhat bittersweet.


I think over the rest of placement I will make it my mission to become more resilient and work on techniques which help me to debrief and reflect on difficult shifts proactively. I think some of this difficulty comes from not being able to know how to help or understand everything that’s happening, something which I am sure will come with time. To improve these skills, I am going to try and debrief with my mentor after every challenging shift, even if at the time I don’t feel I need to. Also, I will try to reflect on what happened so that I can gain a better understanding. I will also try to maintain a good work life balance so that I can de-stress and not take what has happened home with me.


This post may seem a little negative but I have honestly had a brilliant first week and having the privilege of being there when new life enters the world is an indescribable feeling. I have just become aware of the toll that this placement takes on your emotions, both good and bad. This job is physically, emotionally and psychologically demanding yet it is also full of the most beautiful moments. I have come away even more in awe of the power of women and I look forward to the weeks to come.

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