Honoring A Midwife
A midwife changed my life as I’m sure midwives across the world have helped change the lives of so many. She helped me birth my child and helped me to learn to trust my body.
The birth of my first child in 2000 was not at all what I had hoped it would be. Like many first time moms I was nervous and made choices based on fear rather than knowledge. As a result, I had a birth experience that was less than optimal.
I didn’t trust my body or my care provider and the birth ended after many interventions, with me pushing, purple-faced, while others shouted. My first daughter arrived into the arms of a NICU team. Once the panic had passed and her APGAR scores were declared a “9” she was handed, all bundled up to my husband, who’s finger she immediately started sucking.
It was only long after the birth, while I struggled with breastfeeding, bonding with my baby and, in retrospect, undiagnosed postpartum depression, that I began to suspect that my birth experience might have had something to do with how I was feeling.
When I became pregnant again in 2007 I knew I wanted- NEEDED- to have a different type of birth experience. I sought out a midwife practice and I grilled the midwives about their thoughts, feelings, theories, and practice of helping women birth.
Because I knew more, I asked more questions. I demanded more. I didn’t accept that all births had to be in a hospital setting with an OB.
My second birth experience was with a midwife who I trusted completely. She gave me the space I needed and the time I needed. There was no rushing. No interventions. Just suggestions to change position, to deepen my groaning—to work with my body instead of against it.
When my second daughter was born (slowly) into the quiet, dimly lit room she was placed right onto my chest. She nursed right away. All weighing and other baby checking happened long after we bonded. A blanket was placed over both of us as we sat there skin to skin.
By allowing me the freedom to do what I needed to do to feel safe to birth my baby- my midwife helped me heal my old wounds with new life. I’m not sure I ever told her what a difference she made in my life but, today, in honor of the International Day of the Midwife, I’m going to.
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