A NEILSTON mum has embarked on a career as a midwife after being inspired by her own experience of childbirth.

Kirsty Johnstone, 28, is juggling her first year of midwifery studies at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) with being mum to three-year-old Charlie and one-year-old Ella.

Speaking on International Day of the Midwife, she told the Barrhead News: “I’m not quite sure how I do it but there is lots of studying once the kids are in bed.

"I enjoy a challenge.”

Before the Covid pandemic, Kirsty worked as a travel agent for a small company in Glasgow but was furloughed in March 2020, when she was 20 weeks pregnant with Ella.

While it gave her the chance to enjoy her pregnancy, it was also an uncertain time as she pondered her career options.

After Ella was born in August 2020, Kirsty started her maternity leave, before being furloughed again in 2021.

“I made the decision just after Ella was born to get myself a proper career," she said. "I had loved being pregnant both times and had been fascinated with the whole process.

“Holly was my community midwife with Charlie and all the way through with Ella, so we built up a very special bond. I had a water birth and it was perfect. I was even home after six hours.

“Midwifery was the obvious choice after that and I was delighted when I was accepted onto the Masters course at the University of the West of Scotland.”

Kirsty said she has enjoyed her midwifery course from day one.

“I love it even more than I thought I would," she added. "The birth process is incredible and women just amaze me with their strength – how they can be sitting up in bed having tea and toast ten minutes after pushing out a human being.

"It’s such an honour to be there alongside a woman at this time. It’s such a big thing in their life.”

Kirsty now aims to get through the next two years of her course while looking after her kids and nine-month-old puppy Heidi.

“It’s definitely the job for me," she said. "Yes it’s difficult with Ella and Charlie being so small but I will get there.”

More than 550 midwives work for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), providing a crucial service to thousands of women every year, including delivering more than 12,000 babies.

Angela O’Neill, deputy nurse director at NHSGGC, said: “With the support of our midwives, we aim to give our students the best possible learning experience.

"Working closely with universities, we enable current and future midwives to get the education they need to provide some of the best maternity care in the world and help ensure a flow of new midwives into the service.”

Dr Claire Chalmers, deputy dean of the School of Health and Life Sciences at UWS, added: “We are incredibly proud of Kirsty and all of our amazing student midwives and are pleased to join in the celebrations on International Day of the Midwife.

"At UWS, we are one of Scotland’s leading providers of midwifery education and are extremely proud of our close partnership working with the NHS, which has enabled Kirsty and so many other UWS student midwives to make a real and positive impact on the lives of mothers and their newborn babies.

"As well as studying in state-of-the-art facilities, our students spend a lot of their time in clinical practice settings within the NHS as part of their practice learning experiences.

"It is inspiring to hear of Kirsty’s fantastic contribution to the NHS and to new mothers, all while she is still a student.”