Motherhood, career change, and finding your calling: Montana shares her inspiring story

Categories: School of Health and Society

To celebrate the International Day of the Midwife (5 May), we spoke to student Montana (pictured below), who shared her journey from South Africa to Salford and becoming a student midwife.

Montana studied her first degree at Salford in 2014 in a totally different field: Sports Science, before going on to a master’s in management at Salford Business School. But falling pregnant led to a life changing experience, as going through pregnancy and birth and becoming a mother made her realise she wanted to be a midwife. 

She explained: “As soon as life had settled down again after my baby was born, I knew I wanted to come back to Salford for my third degree as it honestly just feels like home here for me. Salford also offered the master’s pathway for midwifery which ran alongside the BSc. This was very attractive to me, as I was a graduate already. It allowed me to explore midwifery from a different angle, while learning the BSc elements too.”

And being able to get out on placements quickly helped to confirm to Montana that she was on the right career path. “It has been amazing to be in placement so early in our degree. It’s wonderful to be learning the theory and then heading back out into placement each time and seeing what we’ve learnt in practice,” she said.

“The best moment I’ve had so far was witnessing my first birth while on placement. I cried. It was just beautiful. It really reinforced my reasons for choosing this career. I am so honoured to be there with women and their families as they bring new life into this beautiful world.”

Montana feels like the support she has received has been key to making a success of her studies. “I have been a student here at Salford twice before, but this time I am also a mother. Balancing a very demanding degree with looking after my toddler has been extremely difficult at times, but my lecturers and personal tutors have offered amazing support. 

“My partner and family have been my rock throughout. Support is so important when studying any degree, but even more so for midwifery as there are times where you truly need that helping hand to manage your time around assignments, exams and placement hours. I’ve also never experienced being part of such a close-knit group of students – the support and encouragement from my cohort makes it feel extra special to study here.”

Prior to studying midwifery, Montana says some of her proudest achievements had been as a result the fantastic grades she’d earned, including a First-Class Honours award for her degree and a Distinction in her masters’. But she says her midwifery course has given her new reasons to feel proud too. “This week I found out I have been successful in applying to become the School Representative for midwifery, and it genuinely made me so proud, happy and excited about how I can help to help shape the future of our degree programme.”

And what does the future hold for Montana herself? “I would really like to stop studying at some point, but who knows! I may soon be back at Salford for a fourth degree! On a serious note, I would love to finally be in a job where I feel like I belong. A job that doesn’t feel like a job. Having done several placements now, I know that I have that job waiting for me as a midwife.

“I’d also love to support other students coming into the midwifery profession. I have seen the many struggles for students and especially for student mothers, and I would love to help develop more support mechanisms, particularly for mothers who may not have the confidence or means to pursue this career.

“Since starting my studies, I feel like I have grown in confidence in every aspect of my being. I have taken every opportunity in the past few years to grow as a student, but also as a person; trusting Gods plan for my life. The experiences I have had have shaped me into the person I am today, and I genuinely feel so much excitement to think of who I will be in a couple of years from now when I complete my midwifery degree!”

Montana Cresswell

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