“Most of the time this is a really happy job. You’re guiding people through a phase of their lives that can be daunting for new mums, but it turns out to be a wonderful experience.”
Priya Pillay, a community Lead Maternity Carer midwife working an antenatal clinic at the Botany Downs Birthing Unit, has more than 30 years’ of midwifery and nursing experience in South Africa, Wellington and, since 2003, at Counties Manukau Health.
“You’re supporting the mother and the father through a very positive change in their lives,” she says.
As a young nurse in South Africa, Priya always wanted to be a midwife. There is no distinction between general nursing and midwifery in South Africa. Most nurses go on to midwifery after their basic training working between general wards and maternity.
Priya believes New Zealand is a world-leader in maternity care with great professional practices pioneered in the community Lead Maternity Carer midwifery model of care.
She says working in Counties Manukau with its diverse communities gives young midwives an invaluable experience in dealing with various ethnic groups.
Being a South African Indian also helps her bond with many mothers who require midwifery care in Counties, with its high proportion of Indian and South African communities in the area.
Although she acknowledges that there is always a shortage of maternity staff, she says the warm collegial nature of her fellow midwives, nurses and the medical teams at CM Health makes up for that.
As the mother of a 33-year-old and a proud grandmother of a four-year-old, Priya says she has a wonderful job welcoming new citizens into the world.