Being a Midwife

What does being a midwife mean to me?

That sounds like the start of a high school English paper. “What does being a midwife mean to me”? But I think that’s a rather profound question to ask someone! Think about it…ask yourself, “What does being a mother mean to me?” “What does being a man mean to me?” “What does being a wife mean to me?”

So what does being a midwife mean to me?

It means that this family that just hired me has chosen me, out of everyone in the world, to be a part of their memories forever. It means that I will be given the blessing of getting to know them in the most intimate of ways. I will be able to touch and connect with their baby as it grows inside their womb, feeling it grow and mature. This means that my touch is one of the very first experiences this baby will have as I place my hands on the mom’s swollen belly. I will witness this woman at her strongest, even though she will feel like she is at her weakest. I will witness this woman strip away all of society’s input, all of the ‘proper girl’ that she was raised with, all of her inhibitions…and I will see her in her rawest form, the basic animalistic instinctual woman that she is inside.

I hold a miracle in my hands

It means that they are trusting me – trusting me be able to walk the fine balance between being watchful for medical issues while not interfering and thus creating medical issues. They are trusting me to treat them with respect and honor this event for the monumentous occasion that it is. It means that she is trusting me to see her in that vulnerable true state of who she is at the core and won’t judge her for what or who I see her become. It means that they trust me with their very lives, to make decisions that are in their best interest rather than my own.

It means that I have been called to a profession that I feel is more of a lifestyle than a job. This is a time in their life that they will always remember in quite a bit of detail, and I am a part of that story. They will always remember me (and I will always remember them) – so we are connected forever through our shared experiences. I do believe that not only will they remember me, but that my actions have a great effect on the baby – in fact, on the entire family. Facilitating the emotional transition to motherhood is as important as overseeing the physical and medical process. Treasuring and guiding the babymoon period (first month postpartum) can help lay a foundation of breastfeeding and bonding and trust between the mother and baby that can last their entire lives. Even more than that, by giving this family the best start possible, it lays the example for the next generation. I do believe that by giving these families my heart and love, that it can make a difference when this baby grows up and has their own baby, thus making the event even bigger than a “lifetime”…it makes it “generational”.

A brand new family

Being a midwife means that on a regular basis I get to take part in a miracle. I get to see the miraculous unfold before me, and witness the incredible. I get to watch as a man falls deeper in love with this woman than he ever thought possible, and the woman realize that she is worthy of that love. I get to see the man transform into a father as he cradles his newborn in his arms, no longer afraid to cry or show the depth of his feelings as he realizes in that moment that it’s a strength rather than a weakness. I get to see the gift that this man gave to this woman emerge from her body – and I get to see a mother return that gift as she hands the baby over to the father. I get to see as older siblings learn how to give birth, how to become a mother or a father, as they watch their youngest sibling come out.

It means that I get to bear (what I believe is) one of the most enormous responsibilities a human can bear…assisting this family through the creation of life. And I’m lucky and blessed to do so.

In short, it means I’m one of the luckiest people on Earth.

(pictures of the birth were taken by Laura Winslow Photography )