I am a qualified midwife, nurse and counsellor. Having worked for several years as a specialist midwife in the NHS, first in the bereavement service and later responsible for antenatal screening and fetal medicine services, I retired early from the NHS to establish Walking With You, a specialist private midwifery service.
Based on the meaning of midwifery as being “with woman”, my aim is to walk with women/couples as they navigate the complexities of pregnancy and early family life. This includes antenatal tests and the potentially very complex issues that arise from them. Questions range from deciding whether to have a particular test to dealing with the life changing news that your unborn baby has severe health challenges or the loss of a very much loved and wanted baby.
“Whilst I loved working in the NHS, the multiple demands often made it difficult to give the time and uninterrupted space which I believe pregnant people and their families deserve. Pregnancy, birth and living with a new-born present many questions and challenges to most people. I believe that to make choices about care options, screening tests and other interventions, you need clear, balanced information and the opportunity to discuss and ask questions.
For those who are faced with very complex information and the need to make life changing decisions this becomes vital.
I realised that my passion is creating safe space for people to make their own decisions, based on their specific life circumstances and belief system. I feel that walking with you as you make and then enact your decision is an honour. Whether you are lucky enough to have a straightforward pregnancy or have complex decisions to make about your health or that of your baby, I feel it is my role to inform, empower and support you. If your baby faces very major issues, that little life (and the dreams that you had invested in it) is worthy of the greatest respect. I am always mindful of the long-term emotional, mental and spiritual impact of life changing decisions.
I am not seeking to replace the services already provided within the NHS, and aim to work in conjunction with NHS providers whenever possible to achieve the very best care for you. It is important to ensure that you and your baby can access the full range of healthcare services which may be needed.
I offer both complete midwifery care outside the NHS, or an additional, supplementary service in association with the NHS, which incorporates elements from both midwifery and counselling. Fundamentally my role can morph and develop according to a particular situation without complex organisational issues getting in the way. Much of my time is spent talking with families, being present as a support as they navigate the complicated path of decision making.
My extensive background in complex midwifery care and my expert contacts enable me to provide you with clear information and to suggest options for you and your child. I undertake prenatal care, helping you to get to know your baby, listen to his/her heartbeat and so on. I support families in discussions with other professionals, working to create an understanding of how you choose to parent your baby. I provide support in labour and at the time of birth (or termination of pregnancy), in straightforward pregnancies this may include helping you to birth your baby at home.
If your baby’s condition means that he/she may have a limited life after birth (or may not be strong enough to live until birth) we can work together to find ways to celebrate the time you do have together and to prepare for the especially precious moments which you may have together.
When your pregnancy ends, a new chapter begins and I offer services ranging from “routine” postnatal care to providing care following death of a baby, sometimes combining postnatal care for the woman and helping organise a service of celebration and commemoration of a precious baby’s short life.
Pregnancy after loss, or where there are complications such as a high chance of inherited health conditions, can lead to very complicated feelings and high anxiety. The support of an experienced midwife who offers continuity of care can be hugely valuable and avoid the need to continually explain your circumstances to new staff.
If you are enjoying a straightforward pregnancy, I am able to offer real continuity of care – before, during and following birth. You may choose to birth at home, or a hospital birth, perhaps a caesarean section if that is right for you. I support you and walk with you, wherever your path leads.
I am blessed to have three children of my own, and two step daughters, who are all now independent adults. I am also a proud grandmother of three very precious little people. I have been married to Paul since 1990.
Whilst having no formal religious affiliation, I consider myself to be a respectful, open minded and spiritual person. I have wide experience working with families from different faiths (and none). I self identify as a woman, with preferred pronouns of she/her. I am always welcoming to people from LBGQIA communities and am working to adjust my language to be more inclusive. This is a work in progress and I am always open to constructive criticism and advice.
I find great joy and comfort in the natural world, and will often be found walking, running or horse riding on the South Downs or further afield, as a form of meditation, an opportunity for reflection and to recharge my batteries. I have learned that walking and talking in wonderful places can be a very powerful way to unlock what is deeply within us, and will gladly literally go walking with you if you wish.
I am registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to practise as both a midwife and a nurse. I am a member of the Royal College of Midwifery and the Royal College of Nursing. I work as part of the Private Midwives family, gaining professional support, ongoing training and access to a network of experienced and skilled colleagues. Through the Private Midwives organisation I have professional insurance which includes intrapartum (birth) insurance. I am registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to provide screening services.”
– Angie Bowles