When Remy Peters is asked what the most rewarding aspect of her work as a Midwife is, she says that the answer people usually expect is: “seeing babies being born”.
While fulfilling, Remy said that for her, the most rewarding aspect of her work is bearing witness to the incredible physical and mental strength shown by people in labour.
“It’s seeing women and birthing people harness this power from within themselves somewhere to get through all of that pain, and finish that journey with such grace. It’s an incredible thing to see.”
Midwifery is emotional and at times, gruelling work. While there are incredible highs to working as a Midwife, Remy also expressed that there can be extreme lows. Long and strange hours, difficult and emotionally draining situations and the overarching pressure of the job while trying to maintain a work-life balance can sometimes become too much. It requires Midwives to harness the same power they witness in the people they help. Finding this power can be difficult. In a world still grappling with COVID-19, prioritising wellbeing in the workplace has become more important than ever. In the midwifery profession, putting your physical and mental wellbeing first is paramount as Midwives must take care of themselves to continue to provide exceptional care for women and families.
For Remy, wellbeing is extremely important to her and her profession.
“It’s really important. It’s hard to do our job when we’re not feeling our best. It’s a lot easier to get burnt out when you’re feeling mentally and physically unwell.”
Remy has been a Midwife for five years, launching straight into work after finishing her Bachelor of Midwifery, which she started straight out of high school. Working through COVID-19, she had to learn to understand and prioritise her wellbeing, even when, at times it seemed undoable.
Trying to manage your daily life on-top of shift work and an unpredictable schedule, the idea of holistic wellbeing can seem unachievable.
“Sometimes you’re just too tired, and you just do not have the mental capacity to even take a shower, sometimes going for a walk or trying to eat healthily, or even getting a full night of sleep is impossible with the work that we do.”
It was the build-up of pressure that led to Remy taking mental health leave so that she could look after herself. It was a decision she made after noticing how her state of mind was not only affecting her personally but had started to have an impact on her work.
During her time off, she gained a new perspective on how she viewed wellbeing. She now understands it isn’t always a simple matter of ‘me-time’ or having a self-care ritual, sometimes it means having difficult conversations and choosing to take actions for your mental health.
“Wellbeing is more than just surviving. For me, wellbeing is acknowledging that there’s a problem, and working on that. Whether that be seeking help from friends or speaking to a mental health professional, taking that step means you are prioritising your mental health.”
While Remy was able to acknowledge her problem and seek help, she understands how daunting that can be, especially when it means asking for time off or telling senior colleagues about your situation. Remy said that support from friends and colleagues is essential.
“Support from co-workers, friends and family is crucial. Without someone else looking out for you, or someone to go to and say, ‘I’m really struggling here’, I think we would potentially lose people.”
It was for this reason that Remy decided to join the ANMF ACT and become a Workplace Delegate. Remy said that becoming a Workplace Delegate shortly after taking mental health leave helped her immensely.
“Having the opportunity to speak out and actively be on the floor to assist solving some of the problems that led to my excess of stress has really helped me to heal because it doesn’t feel as hopeless.”
As a Workplace Delegate, Remy hopes to advocate for herself and her colleagues in a way that emphasises the importance of taking care of yourself, and to take time off if necessary.