Feeling empowered again
When Ruth qualified as a midwife she was so excited to start the career she had been inspired to do - but initially she could only find part-time work. And, as a recently separated mum with a five-year-old son, money was tight.
“As a single mum, working 15 hours a week just wasn’t manageable,” says 36-year-old Ruth. “I also got a job in a local café but it still wasn’t enough. I needed to pay my rent, make sure my son was all right and it was just before Christmas. I felt I’d exhausted all the possibilities because I’d tried the CAB and the council and they all told me they couldn’t help me.”
Ruth had previously been a finalist in the Cavell Nurses’ Trust Awards, celebrating excellence within nursing and midwifery, so knew the charity also awarded financial grants to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who were struggling, so she got in touch again.
“It can feel really difficult to ask for help but everyone I spoke to at Cavell Nurses’ Trust was so lovely,” she says. “When they told me my application for funding had been successful it was such a relief – I can still feel that now. And it wasn’t just money, it was also ‘how are you?’, ‘how are you managing?’ They were very supportive and compassionate.
“That grant really bridged the gap for me. It enabled me to pay the essentials until I could get more hours as a midwife.”
Ruth had been inspired to train for midwifery by her own experiences giving birth to her son Arthur, now aged seven.
“I am really passionate about midwifery. Giving birth is something a woman may do once or twice in their lives and to be part of that is such a privilege. You have a huge responsibility as those experiences in women’s lives can be empowering, enriching and life-changing.”
And she would encourage others to contact Cavell Nurses’ Trust if the need arises.
“Everyone’s situation is individual, it could be because you’ve got a housing situation or a disability or your life circumstances have changed dramatically but it’s fine to ask for help.
“People who work in caring professions are so used to looking after everyone else, often we come last. We need to say ‘if this were my patient or my client, what would I advise them to do?’ and then follow that advice.
“People and organisations like Cavell Nurses’ Trust make you think ‘I can do this’ because with a little bit of help you can get back on your feet and become empowered again.”
You can make a real difference to the lives of midwives like Ruth, and other nursing professionals working in the UK. Find out how you can Get Involved.