“It was my eighth baby's midwife that encouraged me to become a midwife myself,” says Tania Webb, a Graduate Midwife who’s been working at Middlemore Hospital for the past year.
“I’m Maaori, my partner is Samoan and we live in Manurewa. My partner's quite old fashioned. He would go to work while I stayed home and looked after the kids, which worked well for us, but then when I met my eighth baby's midwife, we really connected, and she became part of the family. She said something to me that not many people had ever said. She told me I was a great mum and that if I'd make an amazing midwife.”
“I felt like she really saw me. To have an outsider who genuinely cares come into my home and verbalize strengths in me that I wasn’t aware of… well she planted the seed that I could be more.”
Tania decided to study to be a Midwife and then joined the graduate Midwife programme at Middlemore. She says she’s realised she can bring something unique and valuable to her role, because of her culture.
“I find there's just something about who we are as a people (Maaori), where we just click with each other,” she says.
“I can break things down and speak to people in a way that they understand, so they can understand the importance of what I’m asking them to do.”
“Often health professionals who speak their lingo day in and day out, forget that not everyone understands what they’re saying. I know for myself personally before I studied midwifery, I used to say yes to whatever they told me I had to do, but I had no concept of why I was doing it.”
“So, as opposed to using medical terminology, we instead have a koorero, using everyday language that is easily understood, while I use their body language and questions asked to help gauge their understanding.”
“Because I once was one of those people who said yes to everything, so I didn’t look stupid, I now try really hard to develop a connection with mothers and whaanau so they walk away from me feeling informed, empowered, valued and understood.”
“I explain to people why they need to take their iron pills because most get prescribed iron pills and are expected to take them without a reason why. I explain that if you don't have enough iron in you, then you don't have enough oxygen carriers, and without oxygen carriers this affects baby too. That’s why women faint. Also, if your iron's low you’re more at risk of bleeding because your body doesn’t have enough blood clotters. When you give them a valid reason, they’re more inclined to work with you in partnership”