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Online support: The best decision

Asking Sharyn to be our independent midwife was the best decision we made when I got pregnant. Unlike any other health care provider, Sharyn took time and genuinely cared for us. It was not just a job but a commitment, a relationship of trust and friendship. These months of pregnancy, birth and the first weeks of postnatal care are life changing times and Sharyn was our harbour whenever something unexpected or worrying happened.

We met via Zoom at pre-arranged times which worked really well. We would talk about any questions we had about pregnancy, develop a birth plan or just chat. Sharyn was amazing at understanding what we were needing and wanting, supporting us in those decisions with the vast amount of knowledge she has.

Sharyn’s approach to midwifery is rooted in Quaker values of care and mindfulness, accompanying the journey of pregnancy and maternity with patience, respect and loving kindness.

NHS guidelines and procedures are not always very holistic and caring. Sharyn helped us to navigate the medical system. Being independent of particular NHS trust guidelines, she can draw on the most recent and most convincing research rather than being restricted by some protocols or tick lists. She would listen carefully, give advice including advantages and risks of different choices and send us additional resources to draw on. This really helped us to find our own voice when confronted with decisions.

Because of current issues in IMs accessing birth insurance, Sharyn couldn’t attend the birth itself. But she was vital in making a natural birth possible and was a huge support in the postnatal days when our baby had to be in special care. It would have been very difficult to make some of those decisions without Sharyn’s advice.

Even though I had a straight forward, low-risk pregnancy, we had a few panicky moments and it was invaluable to be able to call Sharyn and talk things through, knowing that she was supportive of our values. I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my NHS midwife. Calling Sharyn felt more like calling a friend for advice.

L & S, First-time parents, Yorkshire, 2021


We had all our needs & expectations met

Sharyn was brilliant. She supported us through the unknowns of pregnancy and pandemic. Her visits made life feel a lot more normal and so pleasant. I would say we had all our needs and expectations met – she not only supported my becoming a mother but my husband becoming a father at the birth of our son and the wonderful postnatal visits thereafter. We very much miss Sharyn’s presence and would have her over for a coffee any time (with lots of milk and sugar)!

Birthing my daughter: A feeling of empowerment, choice, and agency

I had to have a midwife I knew and trusted attend my second birth… after having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following the birth of my first child I can fully attest to how impossible it is to feel like a good and competent mother in a PTSD state. It’s a steep learning curve. I couldn’t be left on my own with my son for long, or have catch up day time sleeps for a year – sleep deprivation is exacerbated by PTSD. It’s actually physiologically impossible to feel that parent child connection when in a PTSD state.

The birth experience is so delicate and fragile that trauma in some form is possible, and I hate to say it, even common. But that doesn’t mean that leads to PTSD. We can do hard things and we can grow from them. PTSD is caused when, during an experience of trauma, we are not supported or respected. We are disempowered and lose control over our situation.

In labour you really do not have control over your situation, it is a wild ride, and need to have trust in those around you to guide the situation to a positive conclusion – whatever that may be. So the power imbalance is inherent in the situation. It takes great skill and self awareness on the part of the people around you to guide you through it keeping the power in your control and not picking it up and running off with it, as it is so easy to do when someone is so vulnerable.

With the skill of the amazing midwife Sharyn Lock (and of course my doula and partner!) I managed to birth my daughter with a feeling of empowerment, choice and agency, despite coming into the situation hyper sensitive and PTSD-ready! It really healed me and therefore healed my family and gave my daughter a truly wonderful start in life.

D, second child, birthed at home, 2019

 

Sharyn is completely marvellous. The amount of time she spent with me was brilliant and I learned so much which helped me through both pregnancies and the births. Thank you Sharyn for all your support and your encyclopedic knowledge!!!

Dianne, two homebirths

Enabled me to believe in myself

Sharyn was my midwife when I delivered Noah who was my miracle rainbow baby after 2 losses and a traumatic birth with my older son Thomas. She enabled me to heal from the birth trauma of Thomas by having a beautiful calm home delivery of Noah. She enabled me to believe in myself and trust my own body to deliver my baby. Noah Francis was born after a 5 hour labour at 41+5 weighing 10.1lbs and no stitches or tearing. I used a pool tens machine and hypnobirthing. I was 42. In complete contrast to what the NHS said I would HAVE to do. Sharyn is just amazing!

Caroline, 3rd baby, first homebirth, VBAC

Above and beyond expectations

Sharyn is amazing. She completely respected all my wishes and empowered me to be the one in charge of my pregnancy and birth experiences at all times. She was thorough with any issues that came up for me, offering information when I wanted it, and never pushing anything unwanted. She was always compassionate, respectful, and went above and beyond expectations as if it is just how she breathes! She’s an inspirational person to know. I’ve learned so much from her and feel blessed to have had her as my midwife.

M, 2nd baby, at home, 2018

My body, my choice

You are an absolutely amazing and wonderful rockstar midwife and we are so grateful for having you by our side. You really helped us build our power as parents, specially mine as mother, and that’s very special and unique. I will always remember: MY BODY, MY CHOICE!

Mariel and Adam, 2018

Truly comfortable and confident

Sharyn walked up a hill, in the rain, at midnight, to attend to me in labour. This is the sort of dedication Sharyn brings to your care. 

Throughout my pregnancy I got to know Sharyn so that I felt truly comfortable and confident with her. In labour I was able to focus completely, safe in the knowledge that her watchful waiting and expertise would keep me and my baby safe, and that I could trust her care and advice implicitly. Post partum, Sharyn gave me dignity, a sense of security, and invaluable help and advice in the hazy and sometimes dark days of early motherhood. 

Throughout my whole experience with her, she also showed warmth and love in a way I have never experienced from a health professional. With Sharyn you will be in the very safest and kindest hands. 

Love from Holly and Bean

A unique partnership

I gave birth on 14th January 2018, to a little girl. She was born at Airedale hospital with the midwives and doctors support there, as well as with the support of the Yorkshire Storks independent midwives, who I had seen during my pregnancy and who have supported me postnatally.

This is our second daughter. After my first birth, when I had pre-eclampsia and had to have a caesarean, I was determined to have a natural/ physiological birth if I could. I also wanted to have a home birth, or as much as the birth as possible at home.

The Yorkshire Storks midwife team were incredible in getting to know me and my family, listening to the choices I wanted to make and supporting me to the fullest extent. They are extremely knowledgeable and experienced, and it was a joy getting to know each of them too. I felt confident in their support for my birth, whatever happened. I think it is this personalised care and continuity of care which I am really grateful for. My labour began naturally at 40 weeks+5 days and I laboured for some time at home, in the birth pool and in my bedroom, with the support of my partner and Sharyn from Yorkshire Storks. I then transferred to Airedale, where I continued to be supported by Sharyn and the midwife team in hospital.

I was so impressed with how the Airedale staff and Yorks Storks team worked together and were extremely mutually respectful. It is a unique partnership which these independent midwives have with a hospital and I truly hope it continues to flourish, as I hope it means more women and their babies can benefit.

Francesca