I saw this image on a friend (who is a midwife)'s Instagram last night. I thought: "yes, this is exactly what they should be doing right now."
The publication, which continued printing during two world wars, can be a document of our creativity and society at a moment in time. Vogue's July 2020 cover story does just that. Through telling the story of three individuals, it celebrates the millions of key workers in the UK who put on their uniforms in the face of danger each day due to the ongoing pandemic.
I feel as though this edition is particularly significant because it represents a shift in who we admire and who we give celebrity status to.
In three posts, I'll introduce you to the train driver, the midwife, and the supermarket assistant who feature in the three covers.
Words by Olivia Marks
Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth
Rachel Millar, Midwife Rachel Millar, 24, has worked as a community midwife at Homerton Hospital, in east London, for almost three years. A fascination with pregnancy and birth was sparked early, when, growing up on a farm in Northern Ireland, she witnessed her grandparents doing lambing season every year. She lives in Leyton with one of her best friends. “Every week is different. I could be doing night shifts in the birth centre, antenatal clinics seeing women throughout their pregnancies, or postnatal home visits – checking in on couples who have recently left the labour ward with their newborns. I also do on-calls for the home birth team which last 24 hours (from 8am to 8am the following day). I just love being with the women in this really special time in their lives. One of the hardest moments for me during the pandemic was when I had my bike stolen. If you’ve ever watched Call the Midwife, you’ll know the importance of two wheels to an east London midwife, especially when we’re desperately trying to avoid public transport. Having to carry on working for the rest of the week, maintain good morale, and be that reassuring voice to worried parents was made slightly more difficult. But, within a few hours, a friend who also works at Homerton Hospital had raised over £500 online to help get me back on the road. Another colleague tweeted the story and within an hour, a local company had donated a brand new electric bike. It’s just one example of the community support and kindness that I’ve seen over the past few months, and what initially drew me to work in Homerton Hospital and the surrounding area. To say that I’m proud of my work family, and my wider community’s response to this pandemic, is an understatement. This October, I’m hoping to run the London Marathon, [postponed in April due to the pandemic] and continue to fundraise for Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity), to show my appreciation for its incredible work supporting bereaved families, especially in such an isolating and lonely time. After the 8pm clapping and free meals fade, I hope that the NHS won’t be forgotten. We will be busy rebuilding and restoring from a time of huge upheaval. To resume to “normal” would be a step in the wrong direction. Hopefully, this pandemic will bring about positive change and a new and improved normal, for NHS staff and service users alike.”