How many people have had the opportunity to hold newborn babies only moments after birth? Few things can compare with looking into those curious eyes as they take in their new surroundings for the first time. And calming a newborn while mom is taking a shower and dad is in the kitchen—frankly, I can tell you that even with my small experience, little else is as fulfilling. Yet despite these amazing joys, midwives also face many difficulties. In a world that esteems cutting edge technology over a woman’s ability to birth, they are considered the outsiders, the intruders, the weirdos. They fight for the right to help women realize their full potential, yet they are shunned by a community that claims the same. These are difficulties that are hard to come to grips with—yet some of the biggest challenges come from the everyday issues that arise in a midwife’s practice.
Midwives are brave, to put it simply. They are brave in that they are literally defying the medical establishment’s philosophy that it takes a doctor and forceps or a knife to get a baby out of a woman’s womb. Their bravery is evident in the way one takes a newborn that isn’t breathing and efficiently begins the resuscitation process while telling the assistant what to do next on the mother. Again, a midwife’s brave heart is clearly seen when she walks into a hospital ward with her client who needs an epidural or needs the baby out because of fetal distress—a midwife who believes in women’s bodies but needs help for this one. She is brave to go nights without sleep, getting up at eleven o’clock at night and getting home at six the next evening—to drive home half-asleep behind the wheel and stay sane enough to stay on the road. If there was a medical profession deserving of a purple heart, it would surely be a midwife.
I know I am biased—and rightly so. I am proud of my midwife—proud of who she is, what she stands for, and why she does it. I am thankful for the fact that she was willing to take me under her wing and take responsibility for my lack of experience and learning process in a profession that leaves no room for error. Once I am a midwife, I hope to share her passion with my students--that despite the challenges, a midwife’s calling is one of the most rewarding professions around.