On Thursday 5 May midwives across the world and here at SASH marked International Day of the Midwife. The maternity department at East Surrey Hospital marked the annual occasion with a series of in-person events and talks, paired with delicious refreshments, to celebrate one another and how the professions has developed over the last 100 years.

In the run up to International Day of the Midwife, SASH staff were asked to nominate maternity colleagues who go above and beyond to demonstrate the Trust’s core values - Dignity and Respect; Compassion; Safety and Quality and One Team, made a significant difference to patients’ experience or life in the delivery suites. The kind words from peers were displayed in the corridor of the maternity ward so that colleagues feel rewarded continued hard work.

On SASH social media channels and through a presentation by midwife Chelsey Hiddleston, the maternity team looked back on a timeline on the history of midwifery, stretching from the 16th century up until the present day, to encourage colleagues to discover interesting milestones throughout the profession’s journey.

The department also heard from Elizabeth Hamilton, Jo Willis and Susan Meadows, who discussed the opportunity to become a Professional Midwifery Advocate, and Beckie Low spoke on the menopause and introduced new ‘reflect and renew’ sessions to help colleagues process clinical events and look after their wellbeing at work. Midwives also had the chance to listen to past patient Adeline McCann, who applauded the team for the outstanding care she received in May 2021 while suffering post-partum psychosis following the birth of her son, Reuben, and suggested ways that future expectant mothers could also learn about the impact of birth on women’s mental health.

International Day of the Midwife was also an opportunity to officially open the maternity team’s new Poppy room, which was recently renovated thanks to SASH charity funding raised by the Callaghan family. In May 2020, Josh and Jenny Callaghan welcomed their baby girl Poppy at East Surrey Hospital. Unfortunately the birth didn’t go completely to plan, but the Callaghans were amazed by the support of the SASH maternity team. Josh and his friends rode 140km over the North and South Downs to raise just over £3,000, which paid for sofas, reclining chairs, a dining table and a high-end coffee machine – all to support the wellbeing of the midwifery department.

Poppy, her parents and her grandparents reunited with the midwives who cared for Poppy and Jenny during the birth for International Day of the Midwife and to cut the ribbon to declare the room open with the rest of the maternity department. The midwifery team gifted Poppy with her very own midwife doll, complete with scrubs and a personalised SASH name badge!

Adaline Smith, head of midwifery at SASH, said:

“After two years of virtual events, it was so great to celebrate International Day of the Midwife in person this year, and to huge success. We were so pleased to give thanks to the Callaghan family, who were delighted to see how their fundraising had been used to create the new staff area and see the amazing difference it’s made to the maternity team.

“Adeline’s story was so powerful and brave, and we really appreciate her taking the time to share her journey. The team also enjoyed hearing about the history of midwives in an interesting and fun way, and getting to know the new ‘reflect and renew’ PMA initiative, as supporting the team’s physical and mental wellbeing during working hours is crucial to us.”