Q: What first attracted you to midwifery--and what was your pathway to getting there?
CW: I know that one influencing factor was that--as the oldest of seven children--I have very fond memories of the local midwife in the UK, who helped my mother to give birth to my siblings. To me, she was a part of the family and I have very special memories of a remarkable, friendly woman, who was so important to the family, who was respected by my parents and was a frequent family visitor.
My own pathway to midwifery was not direct. I trained and worked in both psychiatric nursing and general nursing before I took up midwifery. As I learned and worked in the very different health systems of England and then Australia, I found there were two separate aspects of midwifery that attracted me. One of course was the wonderful experiences of accompanying women and their partners on the journey through pregnancy and labour to birth, which are so closely linked with midwifery practice. The other is the level of accountability and autonomy of practice that is also appropriately associated with this unique role. The combination of these two meant midwifery was for me.
Q: You have moved from one side of the world to the other during your life. Has this helped to contribute to an understanding of different cultures and varying approaches to childbirth and maternity care?
CW: The move from the UK to Australia brought an increased appreciation of different cultures, although both countries are home to large numbers of people who have moved there from other regions. Australia in particular has such diversity that this has provided a great learning arena.
As I have been associated with and worked for ICM over recent years, my appreciation for the value to be drawn from different cultures has grown even further.
Over the past few years in particular, the emergence of different models of practice, education and service--and the opportunity to learn of these and share them with others--has helped me towards an understanding that, regardless of culture and environment, midwives have a great deal in common worldwide. This is part of what makes midwifery such a great profession to belong to!
Q: We were all delighted to hear about the national award you received this year; both for your personally and because such awards reflect positively on midwives and midwifery everywhere. Can you tell us more about this and what it was awarded for?
CW: I feel very honoured--and am still a...