A conversation with Core Midwife Amy Darragh in celebration of International Day of the Midwife
In honour of International Day of the Midwife, we talked to Amy Darragh, Core Midwife at Wairau Maternity and MERAS Marlborough regional representative, who shared with us what inspired her to do this important work and what being a midwife means to her.
Thank you to all midwives for the incredible value you bring to our organisation, our communities, and our whānau.
I am a born and bred Southlander. I studied at Otago Polytechnic. I was able to complete my degree while living in Invercargill. At this time, the Midwifery School had started offering the degree to students who lived in regional areas out of Dunedin, the opportunity to complete the degree predominantly by distance learning. I still attended block courses in Dunedin each term as well as being placed in different areas in the region for clinical placements.
I find it hard to believe that I have now been a midwife for eleven years. During this time I have worked as a hospital-based Midwife as well as a Lead Maternity Care Midwife in the community.
Two years ago I left Southland with my husband and teenage son. We were all ready for a change and Marlborough seemed to be the right fit for us. As a family, we now feel integrated and part of the community. I am currently a Core Midwife at Wairau Maternity. The maternity team at Wairau were so welcoming and I feel very grateful to be part of an amazing team. I, however, proudly continue to roll my R's in Marlborough!
I am currently the MERAS (The Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service) Marlborough regional representative. This role involves me supporting and advocating for my colleagues, encouraging positive changes in the workplace and keeping up to date with Regional and National Midwifery issues. Last year I completed union training and attended my first MERAS Conference.
The current climate is challenging for midwives. I often remind my colleagues we have the power, we are currently irreplaceable, this is a time when midwives are standing together, fighting for equitable rights and valuing what we are worth.
After the birth of my son, I discontinued my nursing training. There was something about midwifery that took my interest and after investigating I realised I desperately wanted to be a midwife. I started my degree when my son was two and I've never looked back!
Being part of an individual's childbirth journey is a privilege. This journey involves a unique partnership between the midwife and the woman or pregnant person, this needs to be tailored to the individual needs.
I believe care needs to be holistic, safe and culturally appropriate. I strongly support the decision-making process by encouraging those I care for to be active participants in the care of themselves and their baby/ babies.
Midwives are normal birth specialists and provide a holistic approach to maternity care. Utilising my midwifery skills, I avoid any unnecessary interventions while also knowing when interventions are indicated. I acknowledge that it is my responsibility when a woman presents with risk factors to refer appropriately to the Section 88 guidelines and ensure I only work within my scope of practice. I acknowledge that when a woman is under a team approach to care, the midwife continues the essential role of supporting and collaborating with other health professionals alongside providing midwifery care.
I believe it is important to integrate partners and whānau in the childbearing process as defined by the woman or pregnant person. I follow the New Zealand College of Midwives Standards of Practice and the Tauranga Kaupapa cultural framework within my practice.
What do you like about this work?
After eleven years, I still can't decide which aspect of midwifery care I enjoy the most. At present, I am fortunate enough to work on the maternity ward at Wairau as a Core Midwife as well as doing casual cover for the hospital case loading team.
This gives me the opportunity to work in a team providing secondary care as well as being able to do antenatal, labour and birth and postnatal care on a casual basis. As a midwife, I value the privileged position I’m in, supporting women, people and whānau at such a special time in their lives. Despite national midwifery shortages, it’s truly a rewarding career.
I value my time with my family and friends. I love to travel. Exploring new places, learning about history, cultures and how people live is a great passion of mine.
In my day-to-day life, I like to keep fit and active. Before a shift I try to go to the gym and stick to a healthy routine, however, sometimes the treats at work are just too good! At the weekend, I like to go for a bushwalk or go on an adventure in nature, I find so good for the soul.