Global Village Midwives – Deirdre Munro

Global Village Midwives

Hello, my name is Deirdre Munro and I would like to share our Global Village of Midwives story with you. Our story began at the International Confederation of Midwifery (ICM) Prague June 2014. I travelled to Prague with a fellow midwife Naomi O’Donovan, kindly sponsored by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO). We shadowed our Irish Midwifery delegates Mary Higgins (executive council ICM), Rhona O’Connell and Margaret Carroll.

This was like the Olympics of Midwifery! Midwives congregated from all over the world to represent their countries and to celebrate Midwifery. We all sang in the park in Prague to break the Guinness book of records for the largest number of midwives singing in one place!

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Margaret Carroll, Deirdre Munro and Naomi O’Donovan

It was here that we randomly met Carmel McCalmont (University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire Head of Midwifery) and her friend Sheena Byrom OBE among many other soul sisters and brother or three… The fun and positivity party was just beginning.

Congress meetings included many discussions including, policy, group work, documentation of achievements, barriers, twinning of countries, membership, future goal setting and global collaboration to agree a global definition of a midwife.

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Margaret Carroll, Deirdre Munro, Naomi O’Donovan and Rhona O’Connell: Irish Delegates at ICM Congress. (Mary Higgins was missing from this photo, busy organising ICM executive business…)

Many more global midwives arrived into Prague to attend, the Conference began. I was honoured to carry the Irish Flag. It was an emotional experience and I met midwives from all over the world in various colourful costumes. I met many friends here including the UK midwife Sally Goodwin. This is where the light bulb moment occurred… I would love to bottle this electric ‘protonic midwifery’ to continue collaborating, sharing kindness and evidence based practice forever…

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Flag ceremony, International Confederation of Midwifery (ICM) Prague 2014

Sheena Byrom OBE (Twitter Queen) hosted a twitter masterclass with Carmel McCalmont as a twitterbuddy at an ICM Conference workshop. I mentioned to Sheena ‘I would love to set up a global village of midwives on twitter’, Sheena’s words were (Midwifery motivator) ‘Just go and do it’! So I learnt how to tweet, thanks to Naomi’s patience and was quickly surrounded by encouraging midwifery tweeters known as #twitterbuddies and I have never looked back since.

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Deirdre Munro, Sheena Byrom OBE, Naomi O’Donovan: Birth of Global Village Midwives June 2014

I returned home to Ireland, totally invigorated about midwifery.  I shared lots of new research on twitter and started to use a hashtag  #Globalvillagemidwives and later created @GlobalVillageMW

Soon I had many followers, many midwives, student midwives, women, partners, healthcare workers from all grades over the world. Themes include positivity, kindness and change for the better of women, babies and population health. Twitter breaks down barriers. Twitter does not care where you live, what age you are, your station or grade, if you were single, a mother, a partner, a dad, a volunteer, a midwife, a doctor or professor etc… Twitter is accessible. At the touch of a button we continue our connectivity and promote safe ‘protonic’ (positive) birth and maternity care globally. We share fantastic research with each other, often hot off the press such as Lancet Midwifery series. We share meaningful personal stories of birth, loss and resilience. We are change agents, boat rockers, quality improvement activists. We follow interesting movements such as the School for Health and Care Radicals (#SHCR) and improving Maternity Experiences (#MatExp).

Positivity is contagious, #Globalvillagemidwives follow positive people like John Walsh (@johnwalsh88) and #TeamShiny (@Team_Shiny). We love innovation and connect daily with Gareth Presch (@GarethPresch) founder of the World Health Innovation Summit, Carlisle (#WHIS16 @HIC16).  We are inspired daily by our student midwives and learn from innovative students and promote their blogs and facebook pages like ‘Normal Birth for Lone Nuts’ by the fabulous Natalie Corden (@corden1326) and fellow student midwife Rachel Checkland (#NBFLN). We have met many #twitterbuddies in our #globalvillagemidwives, not all midwives, we met and connect with fabulous inspirational change agents like Dr Kate Granger (#hellomynameis) Gill Phillips (@WhoseShoes), many more obstetricians, anaesthetists and doulas, too many to mention individually.

The global village of midwives has been on tour. Many virtual #twitterbuddies in our #globalvillagemidwives have met in person and continue to meet in real life. I was invited to celebrate the opening of a birth centre in Coventry by #twitterbuddy Carmel McCalmont where I was blessed to meet Dr Kate Granger in person.  Global Village of Midwives celebrated the launch of a book called ‘The Roar Behind the Silence’ by Sheena Byrom and Professor Soo Downe.

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Hello my name is Carmel McCalmont and Dr Kate Granger

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Launch of ROAR BEHIND THE SILENCE, Bolton, UK.

And so the global village of midwives grows stronger every day.  We support each other. We pick each other up when we are struggling. We share stories, projects, kindness, evidence and new research. We promote ‘protonic maternity care’. We are all in this together. #Globalvillagemidwives celebrated our first birthday in Ireland June 2015, with a cake baked by Sally (our midwifery kindred spirit and baker), including opening of presents (twitter jugs) courtesy of Jeannine Webster (@flowepower66 mental health activist).

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Jeannine Webster, Deirdre Munro, Amanda Burleigh, Sally Goodwin.

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#Globalvillagemidwives birthday cake and tweeting jugs!

Our #Globalvillagemidwives tweets and retweets from various global conferences and campaigns daily to improve health and wellbeing for mothers, babies and families. Current Campaigns include ICM #midwives4all  #SDG’s; Midwife Jenny Clarke campaigns for #skintoskin (@JennytheM); Midwife Amanda Burleigh campaigns for optimal cord clamping #bloodtobaby @optimalclamping). There is no hierarchy here we are all in this #globalvillage together.

And so the story of the Global Village of Midwives continues into the future and we look forward to sharing global village ideas at the World Health Innovation Summit next March in beautiful Carlisle.

Special thanks to Gareth and team for inviting me to blog.

I look forward to tweeting you all…

Deirdre Munro   (@DeirdreMunro)

@Globalvillagemw #Globalvillagemidwives

*The opinions expressed are the bloggers own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Health Innovation Summit.

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