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Giving IVF mums great care: Midwifery student Ellie’s journey

Date 31.03.2021

A student’s very personal mission to give expert care to IVF mums like her own led her to start a degree in Midwifery at the University of Northampton (UON).

Ellie Reedman is a ‘frostie’, the nickname her Mum Janellan gives to her and other babies conceived through in vitro fertilisation (IVF), a procedure that helps couples experiencing fertility issues to get pregnant.

After a time trying to conceive naturally and an initial round of IVF that sadly resulted in a miscarriage, Janellan became pregnant with Ellie and gave birth in 2002. With Dad Sean, the family that almost never was hasn’t looked back since.

Ellie was 10 when her parents told her about the extra steps that led to her arrival in the world. Based on her Mum’s experience of interacting with people who were ignorant of what IVF involved, Ellie has become dedicated to educating people about what being a ‘frostie’ means.

Her mission brought her to Waterside to study Midwifery, starting her degree in January this year.

Ellie explains what she wants to use her degree for: “I’m not sure if it was ignorance, or prejudice or people just ‘being people’, but what my Mum went through, others not understanding IVF or saying is wasn’t natural, really made her feel alone.

“I don’t mean midwives, but other mums. She had no peers she could talk to when she was pregnant, because all of her friends were having so-called ‘normal’ babies.

“For most of us today, IVF babies aren’t a new ‘thing’, but I can’t imagine how tough that was for her, to face all of that on her own.

“The older generation today know more about it, but younger people aren’t always aware and sometimes I have to explain to them what IVF is. I told a friend a few weeks ago and she hadn’t a clue about IVF or even that I was an IVF baby. I suspect there are other people who feel there is one, right way to have a family. And that’s where midwives like the one I want to be come in!”

Ellie had no trouble settling on the University of Northampton (UON) to help her achieve this. She adds: “I live in the county, so of course the proximity helped my decision to study here. But when I first came to apply for a degree, I looked at the rankings and was really impressed with UON.

“I came to an Open Day and, with the new and modern campus and facilities and walking in and everyone being so friendly, it just screamed to me that UON was the place to be! I spoke to other Midwifery students and they said they were enjoying it here. I felt comfortable, I felt at home.”

Even though she’s just two months into her degree, Ellie is now settled in and looking forward to the future. She concludes: “I’m most excited about ‘catching’ my first one! That’s the phrase when you deliver a baby. I’m a bit nervous about this, but the lecturers and other students are helping me realise that, with their expertise and guidance, I’ll be OK.

“My Mum’s really proud of me for wanting to become a midwife, so I feel I’m on my way to achieving my mission and helping all mothers when they need it.”

The University of Northampton’s Midwifery programme recently received positive commendations from a review panel. Find out more about this and what the degree here offers students.