Friday, 20 March 2015

New Tattoo!

Those of you who follow me on Instagram or have seen me around in real life will already have seen this, but I'm going to share it anyway! A few weeks ago, I got a tattoo. Of a mermaid. Very large on my forearm. It was a massive step for me, going from barely inked, to very visibly inked just one week after taking the next step towards a health profession, but it was exciting all the same. I'd been wanting a large piece on my forearm for quite some time, and decided in December that any birthday money I got would be put towards one.

After a lot of searching, and careful consideration of tattoo ideas, I came across Merry's work - a tattoo artist from Rock of Ages in Lennox Head. I fell in love with her instagram instantly, and just knew that she was the one who would design my next tattoo. I decided that I especially loved the portrait-style tattoos she did of beautiful women, and so got in contact with her to ask that she draw me a mermaid face to be tattooed on my forearm. Four weeks after my initial email to her, there I was in the chair, getting tattooed!

Merry was very thorough in her emails, checking and double checking what I wanted, and sending me her sketches a few days before my booking to be approved. I had told her very little, really, and sent her only examples of her own work as a reference. I loved her style, and I trusted her to draw me something beautiful. What she came up with, incorporating the Deathly Hallows symbol into a ring rather than tattooing it on me separately, filling out the portrait with beautiful, coral-like fantasy flowers of her own imagining after my request not to have roses and adding a little pop of colour to her eyes, lips and cheeks, is better than I ever could have imagined!

I had the outline and shading all done in one session of almost four hours. I was getting a little restless by the end, but really, it went by quite quickly! Merry kept me relaxed and chatting the whole way through, using a little numbing spray every now and then while shading, as my arm was starting to swell a little and become a bit uncomfortable near the end. By the time she was shading the last flower, I could have sworn she was drawing on me with a pen, rather than a needle. I don't know whether I was just used to the sensation, or if the numbing spray was just working really well! While she worked, Merry told me that most women who get tattoos of women are getting a tattoo of their alter ego, which I rather liked the idea of. I love the ocean and love to read (especially Harry Potter), so the idea of this beauty being my alter ego sits okay with me! We also decided to call her Belle, for her beauty and because we are both massive Disney fans, but Ariel is much sillier than this wise mermaid!

Now that the tattoo is nicely healed, I can say that I am really, really impressed with the quality and detail of this tattoo. To me, this is a huge piece (especially on my skinny little arm!) but to Merry, it was quite small and she was worried she wouldn't be able to make her as detailed as the portraits she normally does on people's backs and thighs. Everyone I speak to, though, is greatly impressed!

Do you have any tattoos?

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Being an Advocate for Change

Something I'm hearing a lot lately at uni is how important it is to be an advocate for change.

Midwifery is a profession which is experiencing rapid developments at the moment, as birth is slowly returned to "normalcy" and attitudes surrounding birth are shifting away from the medical model and into the midwifery model. The benefits of less intervention, a quiet, dimly lit home-like (or home) environment, immediate skin to skin contact and delayed cord clamping, to name just a few things, are better known than ever, and thus the benefits of one-to-one care by a midwife, rather than an obstetrician, or obstetrical team, are coming into the spotlight, and midwifery is becoming a profession in its own right again! 

I'm really lucky to go to one of the only universities in Australia that offers a direct-entry Bachelor of Midwifery, with a strong, woman-centred focus and a curriculum which supports and encourages continuity of care between women and midwives throughout the ante-natal, peri-natal and post-natal periods. I count my lucky stars every day to be a part of such a degree, run by such enthusiastic, knowledgable and experienced midwifery academics. Being a young, childless, fresh-faced, enthusiastic first-year student, my eyes are really being opened to the disparity between evidence and practice in the hospital setting when it comes to maternity care, and I have no doubt that my opinion of what constitutes "good" midwifery practice will only grow as my degree, and indeed my career, goes on. 

Right now, what is really resonating with me is the lack of choice Australian mothers have over where they give birth. Many mothers probably don't even realise that they do indeed have a choice over where they give birth. They are simply sent from their GP straight to the hospital! So, I did what anyone with dreams of a career as a home birthing midwife would do and sent a letter to my local health district to ask that Medicare funded home birth be considered as an extension of the Lismore Community Midwifery Service, which delivers in-home antenatal and postnatal care to low-risk women in the Lismore area, and guess what? I actually got a reply!

So there you go - if you want to see change, be the change! This might not seems like much to some, but it's a start! We might even get the funding by the time I finish my degree - how cool would that be?