A year like never before: be proud of your role
As I write this editorial, the annual remembrance day commemorations have taken place in the UK, France, and elsewhere, in a much more muted, smaller scale than usual. In wartime, we fought against an enemy that could be seen, whereas in this pandemic, the enemy is invisible to the human eye. Still, the world stepped up to the plate and fought the enemy. Winston Churchill once said ‘If you're going through hell, keep going’ (Keep Inspiring Me, 2020) and that is exactly what we have all had to do. Prior to COVID-19, a ‘hellish’ day at work was usually repaired when we got home to our private lives, spoke to or met up with family and friends and took time to relax and repair. Since March, that has not been possible. We have had to get used to the new everyday terminology of ‘social distancing’, ‘restrictions’ and ‘lockdown’. ‘Normal’ telephone calls have become a distant memory, as there is nothing much to talk about apart from the pandemic. It is tough. All of our cultural and religious celebrations have been cancelled, affecting nations and denominations.
John F Kennedy once said ‘If not us, who? If not now, when?’ (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, 2020). Well it was us and it was now, and we took up the challenge and faced adversity. Through this test of endurance, our women and families have depended on their midwives to support and guide them through this very difficult time, and they, like us, have had to adapt to virtual consultations, lack of partner participation in their care and the loneliness of being in the hospital or community setting with a new baby and family not being allowed to visit. The one constant they have had during all this upheaval is the support of their midwife, whether in a face-to-face or mask-to-mask type of way, or at the end of an audio or video call. That person who looks back at you from the mirror every day is important to these people. We are lucky to be in a profession that experienced life in the midst of so much death and despair.
The news of the imminent arrival of a vaccine has brought so much joy to the world. We can now dream of a return to ‘normality’. A chance to travel, to see friends and family and hug them like never before. We can now realistically look to a time in the near future when our women will be able to see our faces and we can see theirs, and a return to socialisation and seeing real people again, without fear of infecting or infection. It won't be long now!
Winston Churchill said ‘Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection’ (Keep Inspiring Me, 2019). We certainly have a lot to reflect on this year, but there is too, much to rejoice. Here's to a bright, happy and healthy New Year.