The Life of a Student Midwife by Incoming Midwives Sarah Fallis + Sarah Wilson

Being a midwifery student is both challenging and rewarding. It has added chaos and uncertainty to our day to day life, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  This past May, we both graduated from the Midwifery Education Program (MEP) at McMaster University, and we could not be happier. Our journey to become midwives, and the beginning of our friendship, all started four years ago. We were extremely nervous to begin, but thrilled to be joining such an incredible community.  The MEP is offered at three Ontario universities and places an emphasis on problem-based learning, independent study and hands-on clinical placements. The first year and a half was spent on campus, taking courses such as Reproductive Physiology, Life Science, and Midwifery Clinical Skills. In second year, we got our first exposure to the midwifery lifestyle in full force, when we spent a four month placement learning from midwives in practices across the province.  Third year focused on inter-professional placements, as we learned from OBGYNs, Registered Nurses, Lactation Consultants, Paediatricians, and many other professionals. Then it was onto our final year-long clinical placement.  The stars aligned and we were magically placed together at The Midwives Clinic (TMC) and were looking forward to moving home, as we both grew up in Toronto’s east end.

We started the year off running, attending many births in our first couple weeks of placement.  New experiences were in abundance as now we had more responsibility, were making more clinical decisions, returning more pages and living the constantly on-call life.   Finding that work/life balance proved to be a challenge, but as the months passed we began to feel more stable in our new lives.  In a nutshell, being a midwifery student means constantly trying to manage client needs, meet preceptor expectations and create learning opportunities.  All while attempting to keep some kind of social life, maintain a steady stream of caffeination, eat three meals a day and finish writing that essay that’s due on Friday.  Yes, it’s true, we still had a healthy supply of school work to complete during our clinical placements.  We had weekly tutorials with classmates and tutors to discuss our research and learning objectives as well as preparing for upcoming exams.  The silver lining was reconnecting with our classmates once a week and during our exams.  The expression “it takes a village” rings true in the midwifery education program as we rely immensely on each other for support, resources, new perspectives, knowledge sharing and group studying.  For the two of us, studying over facetime on our computers helped us talk through complicated topics, quiz each other and demonstrate emergency manoeuvres.  Bet you would have liked to be a fly on the wall during those study sessions!

Recently, we were able to visit past clients at the clinic’s summer reunion picnic and it was truly amazing to see how much all the babies have grown.  This made us even more excited to begin our careers alongside the incredible midwives at TMC.  We still don’t know how we could be so lucky.  Over the past year we have been able to attend some births together, which were always highlights for us.  It just so happened that we were able to work together during the last birth we attended as students.  After we sent the new family on their way home, one of our preceptors looked at us and said “Hey, you guys just managed that all on your own!” It was a wonderful and rewarding feeling that we will never forget, and a perfect way to end our adventure as midwifery students.  We can’t wait to meet you all soon!