FAIR OAK: Community midwife retiring after 37 years of delivering new generationsJan’s bowing out after more than 800 birthsSHE has brought more than 800 babies into the world – in some cases three generations of the same family.
Now Jan Barns is to retire after 37 years as a community midwife in Fair Oak and says the thought of finishing her working career brings her to tears.
Jan, 65, from Colden Common, said: “I just feel so lucky that I have been able to do what I have done. Throughout my career I have woken up every morning and thought ‘I love my job’.
“Being a community midwife is like being a part of the family. There is one local family where I have delivered the great grandmother, grandmother and mother and they call me their family retainer, it’s just lovely.”
Her career started in February 1967 when Jan started her training as a nurse.
She then went on to work as a staff nurse on the men’s ward before completing her midwifery course and began working as a community midwife for Fair Oak and Bishopstoke in 1977.
The mother of two and grandmother of one has delivered 800 babies in the Fair Oak community alone but from February will be sorely missed as she hangs up her uniform to enjoy life outside of midwifery.
The only regret she has about the way the job has changed is that she can no longer spend as much time with each patient as she used to.
Fellow midwife and previous patient, Nikki Howell, 50 from Hedge End said “She is just lovely and would do anything for you, she is just such a huge part of this community and it’s sad that she is retiring.
“As my midwife, Jan was amazing. She was always very direct and told you exactly what you needed to hear. She was on call constantly and just lovely.”
Having worked as a supervisor of midwives for the past 20 years, Jan is devoted to serving her community.
She said: “Why wouldn’t you love this job? It’s such a personal, special time in someone’s life and I have been so privileged to be a part of it.
“I’ll miss the mums most, that instant love you see when their child is born, and they haven’t done anything to deserve it really but there is an instant bond which is so special.”
Jan hopes to travel around India and also offer her services as a volunteer in retirement.
However, she is also planning a party later in the year.
“It will just be a great chance to say thank you, and goodbye,” she said.