Some people are inspired into midwifery following the birth of their own children, touched by the connection they had with their midwife and the impact this relationship has. For others there is a calling to midwifery from a young age; an early fascination with how babies come into the world and the wonder of this process.
Some come into midwifery because they see the support that is needed for women and the value of true care during pregnancy, birth and early parenting. And many midwives have an absolute, open love for women. Others may come to midwifery slightly by mistake, following a pathway from nursing into midwifery training and finding that it is exactly where they want and need to be.
So, what is midwifery? Beyond the diverse skills and technical know-how of caring for women and their families, midwifery is a remarkable profession – supporting on a fine edge of life and death, being party to everyday miracles, the opportunity to connect with people in a deeply intimate way and being at the coal-face of the reality of life and all its events.
Looking at the origin of the word ‘midwife’, it simply means ‘with woman’ and to remember this can support us to confirm and appreciate our purpose and the reasons we came into this profession.
Midwifery is about serving and supporting women. Walking alongside a midwife, women get to feel something they may never have felt before; a safe pair of hands to express what they feel and an environment in which it is okay to surrender into and honour their bodies.
Being alongside a woman, midwives offer the support that allows the natural processes to take place – the art of watching and waiting; reading a woman’s body and how she is moving and expressing; knowing when to speak, when not to, when to support and guide and when to allow a woman’s innate wisdom to lead.
It is not all rose-tinted glasses and we do not serve anybody by pretending it is so. Midwifery is a huge undertaking that holds great responsibility; it is intense, challenging, diverse and no two experiences are the same… this is part of the magic too.
There is so much to appreciate about our work as midwives, the lives we touch and the impact we have in the intimacy of this period in women’s lives. It is a two-way relationship in which midwives and women inspire and touch one another.