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