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December 22, 2014

Meet our Members: Annabel Bryant

Annabel Bryant supports birthing families in Central London after a 30 year career in the NHS as both a neonatal nurse and Midwife. She has worked in all settings; hospitals, birth centres, home and community, in both in clinical and management positions.

Why did you become an Independent Midwife?

I’ve always been fascinated by birth and wanted to be a midwife from a very early age. I would watch all of our animals at home giving birth and if one of the dogs was having puppies and my Mum didn’t get me out of bed, I was furious. I am so jealous of all these birth photos; there weren’t any when I gave birth.

Why did you choose independent Midwifery?

From the word go, my intention was to work independently but I never had the confidence and I was terrified of not being able to pay the mortgage. What appealed to me was the continuity of care, getting to know the family and being able to provide that really personalised care. I came to work alongside independent midwives at a Birth Choices clinic in the hospital where I was working and spoke to one (Kemi Johnson) about not quite having the confidence to work independently. Kemi connected me to some clients, we did the bookings together and it took off from there (thank you Kemi!)

What appealed to me was the continuity of care, getting to know the family and being able to provide that really personalised care.

Annabel Bryant

Do you ever feel isolated in your work?

No. I have amazing colleagues I can call day or night and I also have an incredible supervisor who is incredibly supportive. I feel like I’m where I belong.

Where is your ‘patch’?

Central London

What are the best part(s) of being an independent midwife?

Getting to know and understand the family is the best thing. Often, what’s good for the Midwife is good for the Mother.

What is your philosophy around pregnancy and birth?

That it’s a normal process. I help a Mother to trust in that process instead of thinking that it’s a pathological event.

How do you see your role during a baby’s birth?

My ultimate role is to give confidence to the Mother in her own ability to birth. A Mother said to me yesterday, ‘thank you for everything you did’ and I said, ‘I didn’t do anything!’ She said; ‘I was really scared and then I looked at your face and I knew it was all OK’. I want the whole family to be involved, if that is what they choose, so that they have a really smooth transition to this new family, which can sometimes feel like being a facilitator more than a midwife. Roles change, it can be hard, men also get depressed after having a baby; I take a holistic approach that is not wholly about the birth itself. A lot of the time the support I give is more mental than practical, the mind is very powerful throughout this period, and midwifery taps into this.

One thing you wish someone told you before you become an independent midwife?

To do it sooner. I wish I’d done it a long time ago.

What has been the most challenging part of being a business owner?

Remembering to write my mileage down. There’s nothing in midwifery training which prepares you to work independently; marketing, business skills, it does take a leap of faith.

There’s nothing in midwifery training which prepares you to work independently; marketing, business skills, it does take a leap of faith.

Annabel Bryant

The most unusual situation you have found yourself in as an independent midwife?

I supported a woman to birth on a barge on a canal in London, it was great!

Tell us something we don’t know about you.

I like deep sea fishing.

Do you have a message for birthing women?

You don’t need to be frightened. You can do it, and it might well be the most amazing day of your life.

Annabel Bryant supports birthing families in Central London after a 30 year career in the NHS as both a neonatal nurse and Midwife. She has worked in all settings; hospitals, birth centres, home and community, in both in clinical and management positions. Why did you become an Independent Midwife? I’ve always been fascinated by birth […]

 
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