My feminist icon: Paloma Faith reveals who inspires her

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Stylist is running its first ever feminist advent calendar in 2018, with a remarkable woman revealing who her feminist icon is every day until 25 December. Here, Paloma Faith reveals why her midwife Wendy Hill is her ultimate feminist icon.

Wendy works at UCH and she’s got four children of her own, all born by caesarean section. She works nights on the premature baby ward so she can be with her children in the day time.

Obviously I’m a kick ass person and I sort of expected myself to give birth and then get straight back to work. But I had a lot of complications – everything that could go wrong, went wrong. I had premature ruptured waters two months early and ended up giving birth a month early, too. I had an infection and then the baby had an infection, and I lost a lot of blood.

I think I slept for about three hours in the days after giving birth. On the third night I buzzed my buzzer at 4am and Wendy came in, and I said to her, ‘I think the doctor has sewn my head onto the wrong body’. She laughed and said, ‘everyone’s a bit mad on the third day. I’ve done it four times babe, don’t worry’. Then she took the baby for the night and I slept for seven hours, and when she came back in the morning I was quite embarrassed.

paloma faith midwife baby birth

“I would be lying there, a broken person, and she would say, ‘I’ve just been Googling you, let me remind you what you’ve achieved!’”

Wendy has stayed in touch with me, and she even texts me on my baby’s birthday every year. She does it for loads of the mums; she’s got a diary full of birthdays.

Wendy’s attitude towards me was amazing and exactly what I needed when I was in hospital. She was very straight up and to the point, and she kept reminding me who I was all the time. She would say things like, ‘you’re amazing at what you do!’ I would be lying there, a broken person, and she would say, ‘I’ve just been Googling you, let me remind you what you’ve achieved!’

Obviously Wendy leads by example. I feel like being a mother is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it is also the ultimate feminist achievement. Sometimes, socially, we look at motherhood as something that’s subservient, a gender-related cliché. But actually it’s the opposite.

I’ve definitely been more financially successful since I had a baby, I’ve been more efficient, I’m doing my best work and I’m analysing the s**t out of myself. I feel like Wendy is an example of that.

She manages the whole night shift at UCH and manages to be a great mother to her kids, so to me she is a hero.

philosophy are the official partner of Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards 2018 and, for every day in December, Stylist is asking a remarkable woman to tell us who her feminist icon is, and why. You can see more inspiring and remarkable women here.

Download Silent Night by Paloma Faith and the #ThankYouMidwife choir and for every download, Pampers will donate £1 to The Royal College of Midwives Benevolent Fund, which will be used to support midwives in times of need.

As told to Sarah Biddlecombe

Images: Getty

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