Monday, 9 June 2014

Home but not yet over!

The ICM Congress in Prague finished on Thursday and I have returned home for a brief weekend with my family whilst our twinned midwives from Nepal, Cambodia and Uganda visit Scotland, the north of England and Wales/Northern Ireland respectively, each to their own twinned countries.  I am enormously grateful to my RCM colleagues and some of our returned volunteer midwives for arranging both accommodation and clinical/academic visits for their twins, giving me a little window to share a sunny Sunday lunch with my extended family, walk my dog in the nearby nature reserve and catch up on some sleep.

Catching up with former colleagues from St Thomas Hospital /Kings College London at the RCM Stand
It's hard to put into words what an amazing experience it was to be with over 3,000 midwives from across the world in Prague, to reunite with friends and colleagues from the past 30 years and to share this adventure with amazing midwives from the RCM and from our twinned countries.  At times I felt like a frazzled tour guide, making sure that everyone was where they needed to be at the right time but it was just fantastic when it all came together.  One of the loveliest moments was when one of MY midwifery tutors, who has just edited the new Myles Textbook for Midwives, presented a signed copy (paid for by our project) to each of our twins.  These midwives are all teachers in their own countries and will be able to make such good use of this important resource.  I have been to the libraries in their teaching schools and many are still using 1970s and 1980s editions as it's all they have. Jacque Gerrard, RCM England's Director, gave each twin a beautiful RCM badge and the Cambodians presented Louise Silverton, Jacque and Jayne with traditional hand-woven Khmer Kramas (cotton scarves).
Author and editor Dr. Jayne Marshall presenting signed copies of the 16th edition (just published) of Myles Textbook for Midwives to our twins from Cambodia, Uganda and Nepal

Louise Silverton, RCM's Director of Midwifery, receiving her Krama
Sadly, despite all of our best efforts (Jacque sat in the visa office all day on Wednesday) we were unable to get a visa for Mary from Uganda to visit the UK so when everyone flew out of Prague on Thursday and Friday, Mary stayed behind to board a plane back to Entebbe on Saturday.  She touched us all with her gracious and godly response to such a disappointment.  I accompanied her to Catholic Mass on Thursday morning in Prague and she took great comfort from the rituals of her faith.  Thankfully we have three UK midwives currently in Uganda so I have asked them to help Mary reflect on her experience in Prague and to surround her with support.

I will be staying at a hotel in London with our twins this week as we travel to Oxford on Wednesday for the RCM's annual event and Zepherina Veitch Lecture by Professor Debra Bick, hold the final day of our GMTP workshop on Thursday and then the formal board meeting on Friday before everyone flies home at the weekend.  It will be the first time in the history of the programme that everyone is together for the board meeting and Mary hopes to join us by Skype.  I will be glad when this very busy period is over but it has been an incredible, enriching and exciting experience and feel so privileged to do the job I do with such fantastic people.
With Mary and Sarah in Prague


  1. Terrific work Joy and it was lovely for me to meet the twins at ICM. It brought GMTP to life and I have so much admiration for all that is being achieved in the countries.

  2. Thank you Cathy. What lovely feedback


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