chapter  8
9 Pages

When midwives become other

WithHelen Shallow

This chapter focuses on midwives' experiences, as their experiences are less-well documented when they are implicated in mothers' unhappy births. Their accounts highlight the potential for long-term psychological damage, working as they do within a maternity service in crisis. The chapter also focuses on interactions between mothers and midwives when labour begins. It examines midwives' experiences as they grappled with the realities of daily practice. Midwives talked mostly of the 'distraction' of telephone interactions, because these 'distractions' led to disjointed and unfocused care for mothers already being cared for, as well as for those at the end of the phone. Many first interactions with mothers in early labour occur in triage. Midwives reported that this was the worst place to work, especially during busy times. In order to cope with impossible workloads, midwives needed mothers to remain at home irrespective of their wishes and, according to the mothers, gave standardised, bland, formulaic responses when they phoned up in labour.