Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

My first blog, and introduction to me

I am Valerie Gommon, a Registered Midwife and an Independent Midwife and this is my first attempt at blogging.  First of all, a brief introduction to who I am and what I get up to:

I am a midwife in Independent (or Private) Practice and offer full continuity of care throughout the antenatal period, labour and birth and up to one month postnatal. I have four grown up children and live in North Bedfordshire.

My interest in birth spans more than two decades and started with the birth of my first son.  I was keen to learn more about the birth process and gradually learnt more about childbirth and parenting skills and subsequently had my next three children at home.

I became involved in La Leche League (a group which supports and promotes breastfeeding), the National Childbirth Trust, A.I.M.S. (the pressure group Association for Improvements in Maternity Services), and our local Birth Information Group.  Through my involvement in these groups I began to support other women and acted as a birth supporter and in turn began to teach birth preparation classes and sometimes supported these women during childbirth. Eventually my own children were grown enough for me to consider training to become a midwife and I worked within the NHS for a number of years as both a hospital and community midwife.  I am therefore confident in all areas of midwifery practice including homebirth, waterbirth, active birth and vaginal birth after caesarean section; I particularly enjoy parenthood education.

For the majority of women childbirth should be recognised as a normal event, I enjoy supporting women and families at this significant time in their lives.  My aim is for women to be fully informed and active partners in their care.  I believe this will empower women and their partners to obtain the most from this precious experience and can then enable them to move forwards into parenthood in a positive way.

I am an active campaigner for improvements in maternity services and am a member of Milton Keynes Birth Information Group and MK Mums. I also act as guest lecturer and mentor student midwives. Currently I am a local representative of the Association of Radical Midwives, a member of AIMS (Association for Improvements in Maternity Services), a member of IMA (Independent Midwives Association) as well as being a member of the Royal College of Midwives.

By working independently, I can offer the luxury of unhurried appointments in the comfort of a client’s own home allowing plenty of time to prepare for the birth. I like to think I am an experienced, sensitive midwife who works with clients to help obtain the best possible experience at this special time – pregnancy outcomes (types of birth, length of labour, need for pain relief, maternal satisfaction and length of breastfeeding) have been shown to be improved by having a known and trusted midwife – I believe that this is something every woman deserves and will continue to work towards this aim.

I usually work alone, but have the back up of other Independent Midwives if needed.

Please do feel free to give me a call for an informal discussion if you wish to discuss anything I have written.

Tel: 01908 511247

This is a guest blog by Helen Potter.

There are several reasons why a woman may have a caesarean section. A planned section may be scheduled because of the position or health of the baby, the mother’s medical history or at her request if she has had a previous, traumatic vaginal birth. An emergency section usually occurs because complications have arisen during natural labour. A ceasarean section is a major operation that requires incisions through the abdomen and uterus and so the significant recovery period is well accepted by medical professionals and society in general. However, the emotional after effects of this type of birth remain less acknowledged and far less discussed. The silence and stigma surrounding mental health after a c-section can be detrimental to new mothers who’ve not only just been through major surgery, but now have a newborn baby to care for too. Here are just a few of the emotional issues that may arise following a c-section.


It’s extremely common for the body to go into shock immediately after the surgery is carried out. Many women report shaking from head to toe as medication from the epidural and affect the muscles. But further on into the recovery process many women experience delayed shock, especially when the c-section was carried out in emergency circumstances. They spend so long preparing for their labour, writing birth plans and building up expectations so when things don’t go to plan it can be a huge surprise. Using a debriefing service following a c-section can be a good way to come to terms with the experience and understand why it had to happen.


A study carried out by Channel Mum found that one in five mothers said that opting for a ceasarean would mean that they’d ‘failed’ and with that sense of failure undoubtedly follows feelings of guilt. Outdated social views can lead to women believing that a drug-free, natural labour is the most honourable way to give birth. Some women even report that having a caesarean has made them to feel like less of a woman and less of a mother. Of course this is untrue and all that really matters in labour is that mother and baby both come through the process safely.

Post natal depression

Although all women who go through childbirth are at risk from postnatal depression, studies show that women who have an emergency caesarean are up to six times more likely to suffer from the condition. The longer recovery period and feelings of guilt, failure and lack of control over their own body are all thought to contribute to this, alongside the hormonal changes that all new mums face. It’ is important to speak to a health visitor or GP if you think you could be suffering from postnatal depression. Self help advice, medication and therapy can all help to alleviate the symptoms.

Trouble bonding

Some women report that they have struggled to bond with their babies following a caesarean section. There are several theories for this. Biologically, research indicates that they miss out on the release of the hormone oxytocin (otherwise known as the love hormone). Immediately after natural childbirth the release of this hormone is higher than ever and missing out it can impair the initial bonding process. In addition to this, skin to skin contact (vital for developing early closeness and bonding) is rarely possible straight after a c-section and in many cases the baby is taken away and checked over while the mother recovers. On a more practical level, the long recovery process can sometimes render a new mum unable to carry out day to day care of the child which can make her feel disengaged from her new baby.

Fear of future pregnancy

Sometimes all of these factors combined, along with the physical pain of a c-section, can make women so fearful of a repeat performance that they choose not to become pregnant again. Of course this can be a devastating choice for a woman who really wants another baby. After a c-section, the probability of a natural birth next time is good – research indicates 60-80% of women can potentially go on to have a vaginal birth after a ceasarean (VBAC). But there are risks and these, alongside the fear of another c-section, can be enough to put some women off for life. If you feel like this but still long to expand your family it is important to talk to your GP or debriefing service to familiarise yourself with all of the facts so that you can make an informed choice.

Citation Section

NHS Choices, Ceasarean section, accessed 25.02.16

Metro, Thousands of women with postnatal depression suffering in silence, accessed 25.02.16

The Royal College of Midwives, What is the purpose of debriefing women in the postnatal period, accessed 25.02.16

The Daily Mail, The women made to feel guilty because they didn’t have a ‘perfect’ drug free birth, accessed 25.02.16

NCBI, Increased risk of postnatal depression after emergency ceasarean section, accessed 25.02.16

Psychguides, Living with postpartum depression, accessed 25.02.16

Mail Online, Women who have ceasarean section ‘less likely to bond,’ accessed 25.02.16

Mayoclinic, Vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC), accessed 25.02.16

Planning a “What is a midwife workshop” on Sunday 28th September aimed at aspiring midwives … learn how to improve your application.

Planning a “What is a midwife workshop” on Sunday 28th September aimed at aspiring midwives … learn how to improve your application.

I’m planning another “What is a midwife” day for those interested in training as a midwife. Saturday 26th April. Message me for more details.

I’m planning another “What is a midwife” day for those interested in training as a midwife. Saturday 26th April. Message me for more details.

I will be hosting workshop for those wishing to train as a midwife on 22th Feb and 26th April – please message me for details.

I am planning to host an IM-UK Workshop for midwives wishing to go into independent practice on 25th Jan and 22nd March please message me for details.