05 May 2021
Today on the International Day of the Midwife, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) has thanked midwives for caring for women across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NMBA community member and Wiradjuri woman Dr Jessa Rogers experienced firsthand the stress of pregnancy and birth during the pandemic and the importance of safe and accessible midwifery care.
‘I had my third son at the height of the pandemic in New Zealand, away from home, and the experience was traumatic at times,’ Dr Rogers said.
‘There was a fantastic midwife who made all the difference in the world to me – she really demonstrated the practice of culturally safe, woman-centred care.’
‘As a member of the NMBA, it reinforced to me the importance of continuity of care, culturally appropriate care, and the lasting impact that midwives have on mothers, long after the birthing process is over.’
Tracey, a midwife and nurse of 35 years who works in a small women’s emergency department in Melbourne, spoke about the difficulties for midwives and the women they care for during the pandemic, as well as the courage and resilience of midwives and women facing these challenges.
‘Our unit became first stop for anyone presenting with COVID-19 symptoms as well as women’s health issues,’ Tracey said. ‘When I had to ask staff to suit up in PPE and go into rooms – they never hesitated.’
‘Watching women come into the unit and their partners not being able to come with them – we all found that really hard, particularly if they were there for a miscarriage or something else really difficult.’
‘Social distancing was really stressful because we couldn’t gather to reflect and debrief together. We couldn’t give each other a hug no matter how hard the day was. At the same time, we saw it as a privilege to be able to go to work while so many people were locked down, so working helped us in some ways as well as being difficult.’
‘I’d like to say thank you to midwives for getting through it and taking care of each other – we know we got off lightly compared to rest of world but it’s still been a really difficult year.’
Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey AM, on behalf of the NMBA, today thanked midwives across Australia and the world for their commitment to women and their families during the pandemic and beyond.
‘Midwives have continued to care for women while their environment and what was required of them changed dramatically in some cases,’ Adjunct Professor Casey said.
‘On behalf of the Board, I’d like to thank midwives for their professionalism and focus on supporting women, and wish them a very happy International Day of the Midwife.’
Adjunct Professor Casey reminded midwives that they can access free, independent and anonymous health support anytime from Nurse & Midwife Support on 1800 667 877 or at www.nmsupport.org.au