Meet Emma Willis

We're so excited to see Emma Willis as she heads to the maternity ward at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. But before we dive into the show, we sat down with her to see what she thought of her experience.

Emma Willis

What made you want to do this series?

"Two things - I watched my mum do it growing up and so it's kind of what I always thought I would do. I didn't necessarily think that I would work on a maternity unit, but that's what my mum did, and I always thought I would end up in a hospital in some way. And the second reason was actually having babies myself. As soon as I gave birth for the first time, I was introduced to what midwives and people who work on a maternity unit do, how much they help you and the incredible things that they get to witness when they see child birth. That was it, I was like right, I want to be a birthing partner, a doula, a midwife, anything that could get me into a birthing situation...without having to put a camera at the end of the bed and watching myself do it again."

What part of your training were you most nervous about?

"The bereavement training. It was something that part of my brain was like 'I wonder if we're just not going to get round to that bit'. I kind of hoped that I could swerve it in some way because I'm terrible with death and death and babies...I mean I can barely talk about it without crying, let alone sit in a room and be trained on it for days. So that was the bit that I found the hardest. However, I was absolutely dreading it and, as sad as it was, it really made a difference and kind of made me not see death in a different way, but it helped me understand how you respond to a family who are going through something like that."

What was your personal highlight of the series?

"There're loads. The home birth, obviously, because I think that was something that I didn't even have in my head. I never thought I'd be lucky enough to make a home birth and we did! It was the most hands on that I could really be in any of the deliveries that I've been in. So that was a pretty remarkable experience and one I'll absolutely never forget. Carly and Colin probably too. They were fantastic. Poor Carly was being induced for 6 days, never thinking she was going to get through the next one. They were such a lovely couple as well. To be honest though, all of the deliveries were a highlight! Just to be able to witness something like that and to be allowed to be present at one of the most intimate moments of someone's life was just incredible."

Is there anything you learnt during the series that you will use in your career?

"I know how lucky I am to have a job that is not life and death. There are times when you're in a hospital when things can go wrong and you've got to act quickly, so I suppose I've learnt that there is much more serious stuff going on, which I knew already, but I've now experienced it in the flesh. So, I suppose it just puts things into perspective and makes you evaluate every situation that you face differently. More than anything though, I just feel incredibly lucky to have had the chance to do it."

What was it like working with Val, the MCA veteran?

"Oh my god I love Val, I still see her. She's been to Big Brother quite a few times. We hang out! She stands in the audience with my mum. She's a phenomenal woman. She's very funny, firstly, as a person, but also her knowledge and her history is incredible. She's been through a lot. She is a remarkable woman and incredibly strong and somebody who I learnt a hell of a lot from. She was really supportive and gave me a kick up the arse if I was stressing about something. She was great and is somebody that I think I will have in my life for a very long time."

After working as an MCA, do you think you could do this full time?

"I think I could! I really liked the fact that they're like a family. Maybe I loved it so much because I only had a certain amount of time and really dived into the situation and wanted to experience it to its fullest, because I knew I had such a short window of opportunity. But the people were amazing. Supporting women when they are sometimes at their most vulnerable, I found it incredibly rewarding. So, I'd like to think I could, yeah. If it all ends tomorrow, I know I've got a plan B!"

Are there any other professions you would like to have a go at?

"I'd like to go back to delivering babies! Just to do a bit more. I'd love to see different surgeries as well I think. I'd like to face my fears a little bit as well and I always find watching cosmetic surgery the one thing that makes me a bit like OOOH! You know when they're chiselling a nose job, it just makes me feel a bit funny. So, I don't know whether witnessing that in the flesh might strengthen myself to it. A&E I think would be really fascinating as well. I think any area of a hospital really. I just kind of like the environment and what's going on there. Who knows!"

How has this series affected your perspective of nursing and midwives?

"It's made me appreciate them on a different level. I've watched my mum do it for so many years, so I know how hard she works. And I have been a birthing mother, so I know the care that is given from them and I understand those points. But, to go in there and do the job...all the days that my mum would come back, and she'd be absolutely knackered, and I was a teenager and wouldn't really pay much attention to it. Now, I get it. Now I'm a mum and I'm a grown up and I have walked in her shoes. I'm like s**t, you are like a superhero, an amazing woman. I suppose it's just the reality of the situation and how hard people work and how much they are giving of themselves to help other people.

What do your friends and family think about you taking on the role?

"They loved it! My mum loved it especially. I think she always thought that my vocation, which had always been in a hospital, had disappeared due to telly. So, she was super chuffed. I think she was really interested actually, because the role has changed somewhat. You know there are things that they do know, which they couldn't do back then and things that they did then that they can't do now. So, she was really interested in that side of things. I think they were all quite surprised too!"