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I am a failure, aren't I?

(50 Posts)
MrsPatrickDempsey Sat 20-Apr-13 20:39:57

Feeling very fragile. Suffered a bit over the last 11 years: pnd has lingered in the form of anxiety/panic attacks and depression occasionally. Came to a head last February with a melt down and 6 weeks off work. I am a midwife with two primary age children and my husband works a two hour each way commute away which involves frequent overnights because of the job and to save petrol.

I have been a mw for 15 years and am finding things quite hard: the stress of the role is really getting to me now, exacerbated by falling staffing levels and worsening conditions. I have had enough of shift working. I detest nights (have posted before) and am fed up of working weekends and public hols when my other half is off. Our family and social life has been wrecked because of this. We juggle the childcare as there are no other options for arranging it around my shifts (have to leave at 630am for an early and don't get home til 945pm on a late.) I am part time but the demands are high.

I am tearful, anxious and nauseous before a shift and whilst I care deeply for the women, my heart's not in it if that makes sense? It's just too hard. Mws have to be tough and I am not any more.

I just want to run - spend quality time with my kids, be there to support OH while he is driving miles and working hard and alleviate some of the load off him. I have applied for HV training but won't find out for a couple of weeks. The money isn't a huge issue. My salary has provided the comfort cushion so we would have to adjust spending a bit.

I feel I am throwing my expertise away and that I am an epic fail cos I can't cope being a mum who works shifts. However, the emotional effects are taking a physical toll and I know I could crack shortly if I continue.

There are no opportunities in midwifery where shifts aren't involved, cos of the nature of the job.

Such a failure.

Jestrin Sat 20-Apr-13 20:47:57

You are not a failure! You have a family and have to juggle that with a demanding job.

Now you can take that expertise away with you into the role of a HV. My fingers are crossed that you hear about the training soon.

everlong Sat 20-Apr-13 20:48:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Sat 20-Apr-13 20:49:48

You are not a failure! See it differently- you need a break. Take one and have a change, you can always go back later.

MrsPatrickDempsey Sat 20-Apr-13 20:50:23

He is supportive. I am my own worse enemy. Just cant keep all the balls in the air. How do people do it?

CaptainSweatPants Sat 20-Apr-13 20:51:22

I think if you can afford it the best thing you can do is resign
Dont feel bad
You're doing what is right for your family

wonderingagain Sat 20-Apr-13 20:51:23

You are one of this country's heroines. Have you spoken to your manager about this? This is a work problem, not a mothering/family problem. I'm sure someone could help you.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 20-Apr-13 20:51:43

You are not a failure. You are tired out and stressed. People change their jobs all the time because it doesn't suit them/their family situation.

I have stopped being a teacher due to stress and lack of family time, I did not have life changing decisions to make OR shift work to do and I don't consider myself a failure at all, just someone who is adapting to life as I find it.

fridayfreedom Sat 20-Apr-13 20:52:39

My friend is a mw and feels exactly the same, it is far from any easy job at the moment. Don't feel like a failure but do speak to your manager and put your own health first.

catgirl1976 Sat 20-Apr-13 20:53:29


I have just had a breakdown and 7 weeks off work and am on meds for anxiety and depression

It is hard juggling a job and children. I only have one child so you are doing much better than me smile

I cry before I go into work, and when I'm there

Neither of us are failures smile PM me if you want to chat thanks

zukiecat Sat 20-Apr-13 20:53:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

quoteunquote Sat 20-Apr-13 20:55:42

You are not a failure,

One of my friends, went on to be health visitor from being a midwife, because of the hours,family and shifts, she did the extra qualifications, during the first year of the job.

She now is working part time three days a week sensible hours,more money than on the midwifery, so I hope you can get something.

Hectic shift work is a killer, so don't be tough on yourself.

SanityClause Sat 20-Apr-13 20:55:46

Could you train as a health visitor? Then you would have regular working hours, instead of shift.

Not a failure, though!

SanityClause Sat 20-Apr-13 20:56:22

X post with quote

wonderingagain Sat 20-Apr-13 20:57:34

I think when you have children you become a lot more sensitive and it may be that you are less able to detach from the job than previously - a perfectly normal reaction to becoming a parent yourself.

GoingToBedfordshire Sat 20-Apr-13 20:58:09

No way could I do what you have been doing. You are not a failure. Many many others can't keep all the balls in the air, something has to give. Take the break, spend time with your family.

What would you say to a colleague who posted your OP?

Good luck, I hope you get good news about the HV training.

Flappingandflying Sat 20-Apr-13 20:58:10

You are not a failure. You are responsible for bringing hundreds of lives safely into the world. If you no longer contine then on any level you have done more for womankind, humanity and just general life than the majority of the population. Actually, who needs you now, happy and healthy with good self esteem so they develop into quality people are your kids. Just do it! You will be a brill HV or brill anything else. But, if your heart is not into being a mw then you also owe it to womenkind to give it a rest for a bit because none of us work well when we feel frazzled and you, quite literally have life in your hands.

Osamamrs Sat 20-Apr-13 20:58:25

Nope, you are def not a failure. I guess this is just the depression. I hope you get the treatment you deserve, good luck.

TunipTheVegedude Sat 20-Apr-13 20:58:28

I think the bar for what women are supposed to be doing is set so high now that it is easy to feel like a failure if you're not juggling a family with doing a demanding job. There are also women out there who feel like failures because they have the job but not the family, or because they have the family but the job is easier than the one they used to be doing before they had kids. (They are NOT failures, but it's easy to feel like one.)
The bottom line is, no, you are not a failure in the least. You are a wonderful person doing the worthwhile and difficult job of raising a family, AS WELL as an important, socially useful and increasingly difficult (due to funding cuts etc) job.

You seem to me like a sensitive, considerate, hardworking person with a good degree of self-knowledge. I bet you are a lovely MW and would be an excellent HV and are an excellent mum.
You are looking round at the needs of all those around you, AND yourself (and if you don't recognise your own needs you won't be in a position to continue to help others as you have been doing) and recognising that something has got to give. This is a very mature and thoughtful thing to be doing - but it is hard, and 'downsizing' a career, when you have worked on developing your skills and you know they are useful, is a hard thing to do, and there is a bit of a phase of mourning to go through to accept it.

You are doing exactly the right thing in taking stock, and it will all be fine. xxx

afussyphase Sat 20-Apr-13 21:00:26

You are most definitely NOT a failure. I couldn't do what you have done, for as long as you have, it sounds extremely stressful. And it sounds like it's very much time to make a change!

MrsPatrickDempsey Sat 20-Apr-13 21:04:45

Thanks - you have all been supportive. People generally have such an unrealistic view of midwifery and think its so wonderful. They think I am crazy to jack it in. It is either the best job or the worse. There is nothing in between and the highs don't outweigh the lows. HV interview on thurs.

Imsosorryalan Sat 20-Apr-13 21:07:16

Have you thought of becoming a freelance, independent midwife? You could pick and choose your patients then? Hope you feel better soon. thanks

quesadilla Sat 20-Apr-13 21:10:37

You are not a failure by any stretch of the imagination. You are someone doing an extremely demanding job and trying to raise a family. You are clearly depressed and stressed and should in the first instance have a step back, have a break and get a bit of perspective. Get some counselling if you can, talk to your DH and see if you can thrash out what you want to do and how you think you should get there. Take the time you need and be gentle with yourself? But please don't say you are a failure.

featherbag Sat 20-Apr-13 21:12:21

I'm a nurse on A&E, and I'm also struggling with work/life balance, especially with DC2 on the way! I've applied for a specialist nurse post, office hours but a higher band, so although I lose unsocial hours payments I get a better basic salary which will even it out. Could you look at moving into a specialism which involves working clinics? Smoking cessation for example, or substance misuse?

Idocrazythings Sat 20-Apr-13 21:20:36

You poor thing… it is such a demanding career and the shifts do take it out of you. If you don't do H.V. What about sitting the IBCLC exam, or getting into staff development, or finding a research project to attach to? Or clinics? Or if you're confident enough some childbirth education? It's hard I know because shift work does pay the bills; I know though I don't want to be doing shift work/ or ward work in my 50's. what to do??

Please don't feel a failure; you just sound very burnt out. Take care smile

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