I am Jaki, Director, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Scotland and formerly Head of Midwifery in Argyll and Bute and Professional Midwifery Advisor to the Scottish Government.
I have always had an interest in women’s health and women having control over their own bodies. I lead by building networks, relationships and connections that ensure no midwife is isolated and every midwife can feel confident in providing the best care.
I advocate for midwives so they can advocate for women.
This means the midwifery service across remote and rural Scotland is collaborative and supportive, providing professional, holistic care for Mothers and babies.
When I have been with women giving birth and they feel absolutely in control of their choice and their experience and don’t doubt themselves, it’s a very different space than you very often get an opportunity to see.
And I believe every woman should have that opportunity, and every midwife should understand what that relationship feels like.
A positive birth experience goes with you for life. And it’s not about everything always being ‘normal’ or perfect. It’s actually about feeling in control, and about being part of something and having a voice, rather than things happening to you.
That is really key to why I do it.
Our relationship with ScotSTAR, the paediatic intensive care transport service, is invaluable. We train together, we have mutual respect and good communication, and if we have a situation we know that we’re talking to people who understand where we’re working, what equipment we have, and are also able, on screen, to observe that baby alongside us.
It has revolutionised the way we can provide care in a remote rural area.
A lot of what we do here as midwives has equal application elsewhere, because it can take as long to travel across London as it can to travel from one part of a rural area to another. So if we apply the way that we work here to other settings, it increases the possibilities of how you can provide care close to home, in a way that’s safe, effective and professional.
I’d say my greatest achievement was seeing my grandson being born at home, 10 miles away from here. I wasn’t there as a midwife, but what was really wonderful was to see the impact the freedom to choose had on my daughter-in-law, on my son, and the lasting impact it had on them being parents and feeling that they had their choices respected.
I was hugely proud. As a midwife, what a pleasure to see your grandchild being born in their own community, and recognise that the way we work here made that possible.