Cork's male midwife
In the not so distant past, doctors were men and women were nurses. Welcome to the 21st century where women can work in any field and men decide not to give in to what is expected of them. Patrick White works in CUMH as a midwife. He tells Yvonne Evans what it's like working in a female dominated occupation
Patrick is the only male midwife working in Cork. Originally from Skibbereen, he trained in Cambridge. During his training as a nurse, he studied various areas in nursing but found midwifery to be the most interesting. After completing his training in the UK he went back to Ireland and worked in Tallaght Hospital in the emergency department. He then returned to Cork and worked in St Finbarr's until CUMH opened.
But what's it like working in a job that is perceived to be a female role?
"I have no problems with it at all. Most of the obstetricians working in Ireland are male. There are only eight male midwives in the country so it's a bit of a novelty in that sense."
Everybody knows women aren't the easiest to deal with when they're going through gruelling hours of labour but Patrick says that he has never had a negative experience with women saying things like "how would you know?"
In his personal life, when asked about his occupation people are curious about his line of work,
"People are intrigued when they ask me what I do for a living. They end up talking to me about their own experiences and their children," the midwife said.
Ups and downs
Working in a maternity hospital has it's ups and downs, as with any job, but when it comes to newborn babies it can go from being fulfilling to extremely difficult in just one night.
"On any given twelve hour night shift there could be up to 19 babies born. The best part of my job is seeing healthy babies and happy parents but it's hard when something goes wrong and a baby is stillborn," he says.
Although Patrick gets great satisfaction out of his job he finds it difficult to leave the work behind, especially if it's been a tragic night. "It's very hard when there is a sad outcome, I'm human, any person would be upset, and if something like that doesn't affect you then hang up your coat and leave."
The RTE show, 'From Here To Maternity' features CUMH and follows the labour of different women. Although the film crew visited the hospital last year, Patrick said that this series which will hit our screens this July, goes into more depth.
During this series, the audience will see Patrick helping mothers delivering their babies. "It's great to see what work is being done in CUMH and highlights the happy times and shows what can go wrong. There were no problems with cameras being around. We just had to get on with it, cameras or not," Patrick said.
From Here To Maternity returns to RTE on Sunday 8 July. The six part documentary series offers a gripping insight into the world of a maternity ward showing that life is never more exhilarating, joyous, terrifying or unique as when it begins. In the first episode we will meet Trudie and Sean O' Doherty.