Since my last blog the, One Born Every Minute- the Truth, Facebook page has grown and grown.... not all of the lively discussion on there has been praise for the page mind you, maybe that is because it has touched a nerve for some. Understandably I suppose because if I was a midwife who uses, for example, the Valsalva manoeuvre or who has never helped a woman birth other than on the bed (yes they are out there) or who always attaches a fetal monitor, or always cuts a cord, of course I would take all the criticism personally too, (although I may just then look to change my practice). Tongue in cheeks comments aside though, that is not the intention of the page. The purpose is not to condemn the midwives rather than some of the practices which, if keep on being seen over and over on TV without being challenged, will continue to be regarded as ok and as normal by both women and health care professionals. It is important to challenge bad or discredited practice, indeed it is part of the midwives rules to do so, or it will never stop and women will always be exposed, depending on who cares for them, to sub-standard care.I actually thought last night was pretty ok, with some exceptions which I will come on to later. I thought it was ok however only because as a midwife who has worked in similar situations and in a labour ward I can see through the editing, where conversation have taken place and things missed out. But can the women who are regularly watching and to whom a labour ward is a very unfamiliar place see it the same way?
I want to first consider how it showed the midwives. It was all very relaxed and calm.....But if I was a midwife working in a consultant unit it would make me reflect on all the days and nights I felt like I was trying to be two people and it may just make me pretty cross. It showed the midwives sitting, eating chocolates, chatting; talking and getting on lovely.......a true reflection? I do not think so….All midwives know how it is in a consultant unit most of the time. The truth is (I bet) the majority of the time they are rushing around with a million things to do, the office is empty, they are rushed off their feet and hardly get time for a cup of tea let alone a rest and a chat.....so when it IS busy thus and women for whatever reason are alone in the room, because we know that does happens and at times, is unavoidable, what exactly will those women be thinking? They just might be thinking that the midwife is leaving them alone, vulnerable, scared and wondering how long the labour is going to go on for, in order to eat chocolate and bemoan the size of their thighs! How is this painting midwifery in the NHS in a true light? What is this doing to the political appeal for more midwives? Some of the midwives who have been challenged enough on, One Born Every Minute- TheTruth, to speak out have argued that it is entertainment only, that most things can be blamed on editing and that what we see is not really happening (non evidence based practices, Valsalva manouvre, constant monitoring, encouraging epidurals, unkind or untrue things being said). Well I tend to agree with you on this one gals......the bit about midwives sitting around chatting and eating choc? That bit I give you really is pure entertainment.....is it not?