One Born Every Minute – and Birmingham Women’s Hospital – owe an awful lot to their team of midwives. The nurses charged with bringing new lives into this world are at the beating heart of Channel 4’s observational documentary and few have personalities as big as Emma Flett.
We spoke to the young midwife about the joys and challenges of her job…
“I’ve always felt it a privilege”
I love being a midwife for many reasons. I’ve always felt it a privilege to be with a family as they go through such a special moment in their lives – you can’t say that about many jobs! My interest in midwifery started when I was very young, and I used to love watching programmes about pregnancy and birth. I found the whole process incredible, even at a young age – something my mum reminds me about now. I think she thought I was either going to be a midwife, or have babies very young.
“Pregnancy and labour can be a scary and nerve-wracking time”
I think I always try to instil a calming and friendly approach to try and put the mums at ease, as pregnancy and labour can be a scary and nerve-wracking time for lots of mums and families. I’m not a natural ‘flapper’ which helps in midwifery as you have to focus on multiple things at once and remain in control.
“I’m not the shy and retiring type”
Many times I’m with mums through labour and we will be chatting and giggling as if we’ve known each other for years – so much so other midwives have knocked on our room after hearing us from up the corridor, no doubt wanting to join the party! I’m sure you’ll see from the series I’m not the shy and retiring type.
“Sadly not all births have the ending we are hoping for”
Although I have lots of joyous memories from midwifery, it tends to be sad ones that are more poignant. Thankfully for most women childbirth is a happy and magical time, but sadly not all births have the ending we are hoping for. Stillbirths and miscarriages are something that people don’t often speak about, or don’t know how to approach and I think it’s important to have the difficult conversations and supporting families though their grief, and speaking about their baby. Working at the Women’s Hospital, I have had the chance to work with the most amazing families who have sadly had angel babies. It’s then I feel the true privilege of being a midwife.
“When a mum tells me her baby is coming, I believe her!”
It’s highlighted how everyone and every pregnancy is different. Throughout my degree, I learnt the theory and academia, whereas in reality women and their bodies don’t always follow the textbooks. It’s so important to never push a woman’s concerns or thoughts aside, because they know their body better than anyone. When a mum tells me her baby is coming, I believe her!
“Toby is my little fur-baby”
I could talk about Toby for days but I’ll keep it brief. Toby is a little shihpoo – a Shih Tzu crossed with a poodle – and he’s effectively a little black ball of fluff. I realised my obsession with him was a little over the top when I took him for a professional photo shoot, followed by photos with Santa a weeks later. The poor mums must get so bored of me whipping out photos and talking about him. I’ve even had to correct people a few times when I talk about him and people think I’m talking about a child. I do realise he’s not a baby or a child, but he’s my little fur-baby.
One Born Every Minute airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on Channel 4