Midwives should not ignore own wellbeing, student says

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08 May 2018

Charlotte Binks is preparing for a career of looking after women through their pregnancies, birthing and in the early days of parenting, however the final year midwifery student is promoting wellbeing for midwives as well.

Yoga is one way to improve wellbeing and was one of the activities on offer at a recent wellbeing day organised by midwifery student Charlotte Binks.

Binks organised a day of wellbeing activities for her fellow students last Saturday 5 May titled ‘We rise by lifting others’. She arranged a yoga session, the All Right team with their 5 Ways to Wellbeing, a mindfulness session and activities to help the students, who are often out on placement practising their skills, to get to know each other better.

There is a shift in mindset happening amongst midwives, she believes. Midwives are realising that they need to take their own wellbeing as seriously as their clients’.  

“Wellbeing is really important and up until this point it has been pushed under the rug. We do tend to get on with the job, but you have to look after yourself to look after other people,” Binks says.  

Part of the wellbeing event was also the opportunity to network with colleagues on the day, including registered midwives who attended an afternoon tea hosted by the NZ College of Midwives.  

“People responded well. Our tutors do discuss wellbeing and it is a big part of our course, but it’s good to be reminded as well,” Binks says.

Ara midwifery lecturer and mindfulness coach Lorna Davies walks the talk on wellbeing and offered a mindfulness session at the event. She brings her knowledge into her role, Binks says, helping students with tools to help combat stress and improve wellbeing.

While stress specifically related to an event can improve performance in the short term, chronic stress can impair ability, lower immunity and contribute to a range of other health concerns.

Binks practises mindfulness regularly and has seen the benefits in her own life; for example, she has learned to break down tasks into small manageable chunks rather than risk being overwhelmed.

“I guess I always wanted to help people,” she says. She was encouraged into midwifery by her best friend; now she could not imagine herself doing anything else.

Ara will also hold a day of wellbeing for all students, Wellbeing 101, on 16 May. Wellbeing is essential for all types of students and for the future professionals they will become as well.