Most midwives will tell you they knew what they wanted to do from the day they themselves were born. I'll be honest - until my first day of training, I didn't even know what a placenta was...
In fact, that very first day, I wasn't even sure I'd made the right career decision. "The people who didn't get onto this course were the ones who said they love babies," the lecturer said. "Being a midwife isn't about that. It's about being with the woman." I could remember raving about how cute babies were in my interview, so how I'd made it through the selection process was a mystery.
But over the next three years of training, I realised I'd found my true calling. Now I understand exactly what the lecturer meant - yes, I love watching a baby's head appear and hearing their first cry, but I also love being an advocate for women. I love meeting new couples, and supporting them through the most difficult yet rewarding days of their lives. Although we also have to deal with really heartbreaking situations too, I go out of my way to try to make the experience as positive as it can be.
But as a qualified midwife, I've noticed some patterns emerging. I meet women coming to hospital quite unprepared for their labour, even though they've been to antenatal classes. They seem to see midwives as the "baddies" - as if we're out to get them!
I think this is down to two factors: being told horror stories by friends, and taking antenatal classes taught by women who want everyone to have the same labour they experienced.
So I set up my own company, Beloved Bumps, teaching antenatal classes in South East London. My aim is to give women the full information about what could happen in hospital, but in a way that empowers them with that knowledge, instead of frightening them.
Planning a peaceful water birth with whale music is great, but it doesn't always happen like that. If the women I teach end up being induced or having an emergency C-section, I want them to feel like - "So what? I can still make this a positive experience."
Don't get me wrong - it would be wonderful if everyone could have a beautiful labour with no pain relief. But every birth is different, every woman is different, and no one knows how they will cope in labour until they have been through it.
I don't think preparing for labour should be about deciding what kind of drugs you're going to have or what instruments will be used. All drugs have a time and place if you need them, and doctors use ventouse or forceps depending on the clinical situation, not because they prefer one over the other.
With all this talk of knowledge and empowerment, you'd think I'd know what I was doing when it came to my own labour. But as soon as I went on maternity leave, I very much became a patient, especially when it came to packing my hospital bag. It took me ages to buy all the little bits I needed. And even then, I left the bloody water spray at home...
I gave a couple of these boxes to friends as baby shower gifts and had really positive feedback, so now I have made them available to other women. You just need to add some clothes for yourself and the baby, plus some food, and you're good to go.
Looking back, I think I was always meant to be a midwife - even though I didn't always know it. Now I want to put my experience to wider use, and the Labour Box is one way of doing that. I hope it makes a difference.
Natasha's Labour Boxes cost £40 from BelovedBumps.com, but we have one to give away. To be in with a chance of winning, just 'Like' the Scummy Mummies Facebook page and leave a comment under the My Labour Box Giveaway post. Thanks and good luck!
A new episode of The Scummy Mummies Podcast is released every fortnight - listen free via scummymummies.com or download via iTunes. We're on Facebook and Twitter - @scummymummies. Come see us perform live at Camp Bestival, July 31st - 2 Aug.