We don't have to change the world

02 May 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 5


Claire Axcell, winner of the BJM Student of the Year Award 2017, reflects on the similarities between midwifery and her former career in the police, and the importance of listening to women in crisis

It was a midwife, nine months after the birth of my son, who lifted a weight off my shoulders that I wasn't even aware I'd been carrying. She had come to my house to do a birth debrief with me, and was going through my notes to find out why it all went as it did. I had spent the previous nine months feeling like a failure, and believing that it must have been my fault. I remember sitting in the hospital for hours after my son's birth, looking at the dark forcep marks on his face, holding him and crying and apologising to him. As she examined my notes, the midwife pointed to a few excerpts and told me “it wasn't your fault, you did everything you could”. Those words unburdened me. They gave me a sense of peace that nothing else really had. I remember feeling my shoulders lighten and feeling like I could breathe again. That hour with her, and the hours I spent with a lovely midwife and her student during the birth of my second child, changed the trajectory of my life and nudged me in the direction of studying midwifery myself.

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