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Memuna Sowe TYOK Midwife
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a midwife

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…according to Memuna Sowe.

Cultural beliefs shape each and every pregnancy

‘Working in south London, I’m exposed to many different cultures and some interesting beliefs. Certain women won’t use water after giving birth as they believe it’s bad luck, and other cultures believe a woman can’t leave the house for 41 days following birth. I educate every new mother about infection, but also make sure to respect their way of life.’

Being pregnant is rough when you’re homeless

‘I am the lead midwife in Homeless Health in Croydon, and I often see women very late in their pregnancy. I need to make sure they trust me in a very short space of time. Some homeless women won’t disclose that they are pregnant until their bump shows, and if they’re asylum seekers, they’re sometimes put off from getting pregnancy care due to fear of the authorities. I’ll often see them in the street and urge them
to come to appointments the next day, or give them my contact details in case they get moved to another area.’

Dire circumstances don’t always stop people being kind

‘When I was pregnant, many of the homeless women I worked with spent their appointments asking about me and my baby. I was like: it’s my job to check up on you! Those little things make my job worth it.’

Midwifery gives you perspective on life

‘I moan so much less now than before I became a midwife. And when my kids complain about little things, I do get frustrated. If they don’t want to eat their food, I tell them about the homeless pregnant women I know, who are craving certain foods and never get to eat them!’ 

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