Jess talks about the highlights of the Midwifery degree

Jess, midwifery student

From home birth to birth centre: final year midwifery student Jess talks about the highlights of her midwifery degree

Jessica Laidlaw, from Cardiff, looks back at her midwifery degree. She helped set up the USW Midwifery Society which brings together midwifery students from all years to help, support and socialise together. 

"When my sister lost her baby at 20 weeks, I saw the way the midwife supported her and it inspired me to do the same one day.  

Studying midwifery has been a rollercoaster! Coming straight from school I had no idea of my strengths and weaknesses, but I've surprised myself with what I am capable of. 

You work as part of the midwifery team from day one on placement. Being thrown in the deep end really opens your eyes!  My favourite placement has been the birth centre in Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr. One of the highlights was caring for a woman in the birthing pool, she was in complete control of her body and I remember watching in awe.  

Midwives can be there for women in more ways than one. Sometimes just being there to offer support is enough. I had a fantastic mentor who taught me the importance of being hands-off, and I learnt so much about myself as a midwife-to-be. 

Mentors are a huge part of our midwifery training: we learn our practical and communication skills from them, they mould us into the practitioners we will be one day. 

My first delivery was a home birth in Merthyr. I remember driving there at 11pm, shaking, with no idea what to expect. I helped deliver a beautiful baby girl, which was the highlight of my training. Coming home at 4am, I woke up my parents to tell them and I couldn't sleep - I think I was a bit overwhelmed! 

The first time a couple sees their new-born baby makes all the hard work worth it."