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Meet Our Volunteer: Holly Priddis

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Each month, our Education Unit introduces you to one of the ACM's fabulous volunteers. These hard-working and dedicated individuals are the backbone of ACM, and we are incredibly grateful for their continued support and service. 

In May 2018, we would like you to meet Holly Priddis, who is the current Deputy Chair of MEAC, a passionate birth photographer, and midwifery lecture at Western Sydney University. 

Profession

When did you become a Registered midwife?

I completed my midwifery undergraduate degree and became registered at the beginning of 2007.  

Why did you become?

I had always been fascinated with pregnancy since I was a child. In year 5, I did a poster for my science class on IVF! I find the whole process of conception, and the fact that women grow babies inside of them, absolutely amazing. I then had four of my own children and my experience of caseload midwifery with my second child was really eye opening for me in regards to what midwives actually did and how important woman centered care, and working in partnership, is for a positive maternity care experience. This midwife also encouraged me to do midwifery myself and that set the ball rolling. 

Where did you train/study?

University of Technology, Sydney. I was within the first cohort to undertake the Bachelor of Midwifery degree in NSW. 
 
Have you undertaken any additional study since you Registered – related to midwifery?

Yes, I completed my Honours degree looking at the birthing positions women adopt in three different birth settings, and I then completed my PhD specifically looking at  women’s experiences following severe perineal trauma and how the maternity system provides care for these women in NSW. I am about to also commence a course for emerging leaders and managers in tertiary education
 
Do you have a special/quirky/sad/meaningful memory you want to share?

I have two significant memories. One of my greatest gifts was being present when a dear friend  gave birth to her baby at home. This was significant for me as I was able to witness a woman birthing in an environment where she felt totally uninhibited and safe. This completely re-shaped my practice. My second memory is from many years ago, caring for a woman a few hours after she had given birth. She had a shower and I was helping her dry her legs. I remember she looked down at me and said “Why would you choose a career where you have to do this?” and I said to her “Why wouldn’t I do this? There is nowhere else I would rather be”. The look she gave me, so much gratitude. It’s those little moments, not the big things, that have made the most impact on me during my midwifery journey. 
 
What is your favourite thing about being a midwife?

There are many things I love about being a midwife, but I absolutely love teaching our up and coming midwives of the future. Being a lecturer and spending time with these amazing students is my absolute favourite thing. Midwifery is so diverse with so many opportunities for career pathways, that it is a true gift to be within a profession such as this. 
 
What would you like to see change in midwifery in Australia? 

There are so many things. I think we absolutely on the right path, and have the best intentions however women still do not appear at the centre of our care in many of our existing services.  A change in the way we regulate/support midwives to move into private practice is also required. Despite the evidence on the benefits of care and the positive outcomes, there is still an enormous resistance to this model of midwifery care. 

ACM Membership

How long have you been a member?

I joined as a student and am going in to my 11th year.

Why did you join ACM?

As a student midwife it was exciting to have the opportunity to connect with other students and midwives, and to learn more about our profession.

What is the most important aspect of your membership?

The opportunity to give back to our profession. My actively being involved with committees, conferences and student support I get an enormous amount of professional and personal satisfaction.

What roles do you undertake for the ACM?

Deputy Chair of the Midwifery Education Advisory Committee (MEAC), a member of the ACM editorial committee with the Australian Midwifery News, and I have been on the ACM NSW State Conference committee for a number of years. 

Social

Tell us a little about your non work life...

I have four children (14, 16, 18, 24 years). My 16 year old is on the Autism Spectrum and has a moderate intellectual disability so I am quite heavily involved in the Autism community. My husband and I founded the Luke Priddis Foundation 10 years ago after experiencing firsthand the challenges faced by parents navigating services and support after their child is diagnosed with Autism, and we now operate a multi-disciplinary centre in Penrith, NSW to support families living with Autism. I am also heavily involved with Beyond Blue as a mental health advocate (on two committees), and am an artist and photographer (maternity, birth and newborn).

What do you do to relax?

Paint and sketch, listen to audiobooks, spend time with my pet python (Albus) and go walking in nature

What is your favourite non work thing to do?

Anything creative!

What is your favourite song/movie/dance/activity?

Harry Potter. Obsessed!