Congratulations to Mietziecats you are THE winner of the SMNET Elective to TANZANIAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!
The SMNET Midwifery Elective Scholarship sponsored by Women and Children Tanzania, is sending you off on the opportunity of a lifetime to Tanzania for 2 weeks to undertake a midwifery placement in both a local hospital and out in rural Tanzania.
Your Prize: A two week midwifery placement in the Arusha region of Northern Tanzania.
:: Your entry to be published on SMNET and in The Practising Midwife Magazine
:: The blog you will keep of your experience in Tanzania will then be transformed into a downloadable SMNET e-book and put in the SMNET shop ~ proceeds from the e-book go to the placement Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania where part of your elective will be.
:: You will take a copy of the African or International edition of Myles' Textbook for Midwives to donate to your placement hospital kindly provided by Elsevier.
:: A donation of $250 will be given to your placement hospital for essential resources ~ made on your behalf.
:: You will receive an SMNET and WACT goody bag.
:: You will receive a handheld GE Pocket Video Camera, the fantastic DV-1! After all, you will need pictures for your e-book and video of the trip of your life!
Your SMNET Elective Itinerary in Tanzania:
Congratulations from us all here at SMNET and many thanks to our esteemed panel!
- Meet and greet by WACT staff on arrival in Tanzania.
- A guided orientation to Arusha using public transport to acclimatize you to the area, and familiarise you with the use of public transport. The orientation will include a walk around Arusha, use of banks and currency exchange, internet cafes, lunch and a visit to the Maasai Market.
- Your accommodation will be with an vetted English speaking host family, all food and a 2L bottle of water will be provided each day.
- You will be orientated to the hospital.
- One week placement on Labour Ward, mentored by the midwifery sister and the obstetric head of department.
- Three days/two nights spent in a rural Maasai village around 50km from Arusha. You will have an English speaking guide at all times, and will stay in a specially constructed authentic Maasai hut and work in the healthcare facility observing/assisting with antenatal care, women's health, baby weighing and vaccinating etc. You may be involved in supporting delivering babies in this setting but this obviously can't be guaranteed. Fingers crossed tho!
- 2 days working in antenatal clinics in Arusha.
- Your weekends will be spent with your host family, visiting a local orphanage and watching the WACT kids football team win some matches!
Sheena Byrom (OBE) SagefemmeSB, Midwife and Author of Catching Babies
Jenny Hall, University Lecturer Midwifelecturer05 Author and previous Editor of The Practising Midwife magazine
Maria Anderson Maria Anderson, Midwife and Author of Tales of a Midwife
Josie Grayson,SMNET Founder & Director
Frances Gunn, FranTanz, Director, Women and Children Tanzania
SMNET Staff Butterfly, Mkunga and Rob
Thanks to all of you who submitted your essays it was a REALLY tough job to select the winner! mancmidwife ~ Your essay was a very close second and even though we only have one placement to give away we loved your essay so much that we have got you a Women & Children Tanzania goody bag together including one of their fabulous hoodies and a discount voucher for a placement in Tanzania and lots of other bits and bobs! So well done to you too!
Wish you had joined SMNET Plus! and applied for the SMNET Elective to Tanzania now? Well..... watch this space we may just have another SMNET Elective to Tanzania Competition for 2013-2014! Join SMNET Plus! today for fantastic online educational events, learning and development and incredible life changing opportunities!
Here is Mietziecats winning entry!
What Midwifery Means to Me…
What a profound and complex question to be asked; what does midwifery mean to me? It could be something that is asked at those anticipated university interviews for a place to study this incredible vocation and right now, as a third year student midwife, I could say it means exhaustion, stress, headaches, financial hardship and sometimes even fear at the thought of the overwhelming responsibility. Yet midwifery means so much more to me, which is why I continue to percevier and progress through my studies, becoming more excited about the goal I am so close to achieving. Midwifery will no doubt mean many different things to many different people who come across it, the expectant mother, the new father, the senior midwife will all have different perceptions, but this essay is what it means to me; as a mother, a sister, a daughter and of course as a soon to be qualified midwife. There will not be many references, how can there be if this essay is to be truly from the heart that cannot be referenced.
Has it meant hard work? Of course it has. The difficulty in persuading my family and friends that a career change at thirty was not madness. The stress of learning to studying again just to be considered for a place at university. The hardship of being a student midwife, the long unpaid hours, never ending exams, essays and now a dissertation too. But then all the hard work is worth it, to be a part of something so incredible, to be “with woman” is an honour and that feeling never changes.
It means the satisfaction of being part of a profession that is not just a career, but a lifestyle. I have the privilege of becoming part of a family’s history, part of their story that will never be forgotten. It is humbling to think that I will always be remembered, that my actions can and do have a long lasting impact on a woman and her family that could even last for generations. Midwifery means carrying that responsibility forever and being proud to do so.
Midwifery means becoming a small part of an everyday miracle. I get to witness love and respect deepening between couples. I get to see women become mothers and men become fathers. I see families being created and extended. I get to witness those important bonds form and sometimes have the immense responsibility to assist in strengthening them. Midwifery means assisting women in the transition to motherhood, not just physically or pathologically, but emotionally too. Midwifery is about making connections with women, families and unborn children. It is about learning to use the simplest of tools, our senses; touch, smell, sight, hearing, and empathy to do the most important job of making those connections. These simple tools allow to us to understand the growing child, the developing mother, they allow us to reassure, understand and communicate.
Midwifery means helping a woman find within her the strength she didn’t think she had, believing in women at times when they perhaps do not believe in themselves, encouraging them to listen and believe in what their bodies can do. It’s about being her voice when she is at her most vulnerable, protecting her rights, her dignity and her beliefs. Midwifery is about being in the moment: being unassuming yet fully attentive, being competent yet able to give sensitive personalised care to the entire woman and even her family, from the inside out. Enabling the woman to fully understand herself and reach her greatest potential. Midwifery is about being able to empower women, not just for their journey to motherhood, but for life.
Midwifery is about advocating the norm, remembering that it is midwives, not physicians, who have attended birth for most of human existence (Davis 2004). It should be remembered that where midwifery is at its strongest, as it is in Sweden, midwifery assisted birth remains normal and that the countries with the lowest perinatal mortality rates believe in and make good use of midwives (Unfpa 2011,Davis 2004).
Midwives past and present around the world have been persecuted because of their passion to advocate the normality of birth; because of their belief in the rights and strength of women and their desire to protect them. Agnes Gereb symbolizes exactly what midwifery means to me. Agnes is changing the world, but she never set out to do that (Kalef, 2012). Agnes used to be an obstetrician in Hungary and later became a midwife. Throughout her careers she has been constantly persecuted and is now imprisoned by the Hungarian government for her gentle forward thinking treatment of birthing families. Despite this she has never given up on midwifery, safely delivering over 9,000 new lives, 3,500 at home (Kalef, 2012). She has opened a birth center, trained midwives both in Hungry and internationally, contributed to ten books and even featured in six films (Kalef, 2012). A yearly holiday in Hungary called “Home birth day” that brings together hundreds of families, is also attributed to her. Agnes’s passion and dedication means she continues to fight for midwifery, her passion is now bringing people together from all around the world to fight with her. These people all have different backgrounds, but they will ensure that midwifery will continue; voices will be heard and women’s rights will be protected. Midwifery means being strong, independent and free thinking: a rebel with an important cause.
So that is what midwifery means to me. I am certain that as I continue to develop as a midwife and as the world changes around me, the meaning will change and develop too. But, I also know that however that meaning may alter, some things will always remain the same: Midwifery will always mean “being with woman” and I know, as long as I keep that in my heart, I will always be the best midwife I can be!
Davis E (2004). Hearts and Hands (4th ed). Celestial Arts, California.
Kalef M (2012). Hungarian midwife Agnes Gereb changing the world. Available at: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/world/europe/hungarian-midwife-agnes-gereb-changing-world [Last Accessed 13th February 2013].
Kalef M (2012). Advocates join Hungarian midwife Agnes Gereb's fight for home births. Available at: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/blogs/world/2012/03/09/advocates-join-hungarian-midwife-agnes-gerebs-fight-home-births [Last accessed 13th February 2013].
UNFPA (2011). Midwifery around the World. Available at http://www.unfpa.org/sowmy/resources/docs/main_report/en_SOWMR_Part1.pdf [Last accessed 13th February 2013].
Come and join us on Twitter on Tuesday 5th May at 8pm to celebrate International Day of the Midwife! This year's theme is Midwives: For a better tomorrow. A great focus for an educational midwifery forum ;) Use #smnatter to join in. For more information click here.