Day 4 ICM: Entering into Women’s Lives with Compassion

All over the world midwives enter into women’s lives to support them through pregnancy, birth and early adaptation to motherhood. All the sessions I attended today reflected this, starting with the session entitled ‘Socially Complex Lives’ in which three separate presenters described their projects with vulnerable women. Presenters from London and Rotterdam gave interesting talks on their research and practice  first. But the highlight was Dr Liz Bailey and Carmel McCalmomt presenting and sharing the iBumps project: a special service for teenagers in Coventry. The iBumps Midwives (Sam Nightingale and Tracy Standbridge-Boyle) were unable to attend the ICM because of other commitments so Liz gave a very clear and engaging account of their experience of setting up this successful project which offers young mothers enhanced personalised support from specialist midwives. Feedback from a young mother was shown in a film , she gave a personal account of the benefits of this compassionate and much valued service. iBumps clearly makes a difference.


At coffee time I went to see more posters and the Coventry University and UHCW posters seemed to be attracting a lot of interest. These included Sally Pezzaro’s poster on Workplace compassion for staff in the NHS a subject dear to my heart. Also the Midwifery Lecturers project on parent education in partnership and research on protected quiet time for new mothers and babies in the hour following birth.

After coffee I was spoilt for choice again! There was so much on offer including a session about midwifery care in disaster areas and another on the ways midwifery students can be supported with accounts from USA, Canada, Germany and Afghanistan. In the end I chose a session on Midwifery Leadership. There were three excellent presentations. My take home message from presenter Susan Calvert: ‘The biggest challenge is getting all midwives to realise that leadership is their role’. I reflected on this as I left the session. It’s true, if midwives are to make a difference they have to see themselves as the leaders and have the courage and skills to say when things are not right and to lead improvements in care whenever they can, rather than wait for others to lead it. 

During the afternoon I felt excited and nervous. Today was the day for my presentation: The Concept of Compassionate Midwifery. For more information on this see my website

I was the third and last presenter in a session entitles Giving Voice to Respectful Care. The first two speakers were excellent, presenting research from North America and Jamaica so I felt a bit daunted. I took a deep breath.  I knew my work was unique and relevant and I was practically bursting to share it with midwives from around the world.

I was so hoppy with how it went and the response I got. The audience were engaged and attentive and seemed to really get it! I had lots of questions from them in the allotted question time and many coming to speak to me afterwards. I could not have wished for more.

No time to hang around though, it was the ICM Gala Dinner starting at 6.30pm and  we needed to get our posh frocks on! 

I heard there were over 1000 midwives at the ICM Gala Dinner. So more networking and learning about midwives far and near but this time with a relaxed party atmosphere.  What I can confirm is that when 1000 midwives get together with food, drink and dancing they certainly know how to party – enough said 😊

More tomorrow. Thank you for reading.

Twitter @Dianethemidwife 


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