Hannah Lee, 21, is a recently qualified midwife, who has started her first job at Birmingham’s Women’s Hospital in the summer of 2020.
Hannah says: “I’ve wanted to be a midwife since I was a teenager. At school as part of my Child Development GCSE, there was a module on conception, pregnancy, birth and postnatal. I was hooked! I couldn’t get over what a woman’s body can do!” Hannah completed a childcare diploma at college, and then a diploma in access to higher education. She went on to study midwifery at University of Worcester.
The first six months since qualifying finds Hannah working on the delivery suite and the birthing centre at Birmingham’s Women’s Hospital. She says: “I was so nervous on my first shift, but the team’s fantastic, and really supportive. My nan is my biggest cheerleader and loves to hear stories from the delivery ward. Being a midwife is a difficult job, the hours can be challenging, but I find it so rewarding, and have job security. I love being on the delivery ward, and I feel that I have the clinical expertise and the communication skills to support women during the delivery of their child.”
Hannah has not so far experienced a stillbirth or neonatal death either during her university placements or in her new role. She says: “Sadly I know it will happen - and I need to be prepared to manage this situation professionally. It’s an unfortunate fact that midwives deal in both life and death. It’s disappointing that during my training, I only received limited bereavement care training, firstly because of clinical priorities and then COVID-19. This is the main reason why I participated in the Beyond Bea online study session in December 2020. Before the Beyond Bea training I was fearful I would not be capable of caring for a bereaved parent, and that I would let them down, when they needed me most.
Hannah continues: “The Beyond Bea training session is a very well put together training programme. Steph, the founder of Beyond Bea is extremely comprehensive in both her clinical knowledge as a midwife and in her emotional intelligence. I found the story of her daughter, Bea, to be incredibly powerful and moving. By including a real baby that had lived and died, it put the training into context and made it all the more tangible.
“I feel so much more confident in looking after a bereaved parent now. Steph went through simple adjustments we can make in our behaviour and language to support a family. I also understand the true value of making special memories for a bereaved family. I believe that when I do finally care for a bereaved family, that I will be able to go home from my shift and feel, although sad, that I had done my very best - and that’s so important for my personal wellbeing.”
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