Walking Through Deep Waters
MIDWIFERY....Is it a profession, a calling, a destiny, a hobby, a lifestyle? I have been asked each of these questions by others in an attempt to understand the "why I do what I do" question.
Self reflection and examination begin when others pose these types of questions. You may find at different stages in your life your response may be different than at other stages. You may find the receptiveness of midwifery to be diverse among family, friends, other midwives, the medical community, the legislative community, as well as within yourself.
The question raised is "WHY"?
There are as many different responses as there are midwives, but for me, at this particular time in my life, the answer lies in a calling I never saw coming. I am a wife of 35 years, a mother to four married children, and a grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren. I choose to live a simplistic lifestyle and enjoy the blessings passed along to me. How does this even qualify me or call me into the field of midwifery with so many accomplished midwives already serving in the field?
My last pregnancy was the only planned home birth I had. Frankly, I wasn't even aware women had the option of home birth until just before conceiving her. The care, compassion, and professionalism gifted to me during my pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum period was like none I had ever experienced with previous maternity care providers. The experience began to draw me, even awaken me, to a lifestyle I desired to associate myself with.
The scene had been set, and the "play" was about to begin. My didactic and clinical training had virtually "fallen" into my lap. The rigors of both, accompanied by the demands of juggling motherhood and family, were at times overwhelming. However, with both trainings completed and with the passage of exams, I was granted a license to practice midwifery.
For the next several years, I enjoyed a "beautiful dance" serving as midwife to my clients. The skills I learned from my clients were possibly more valuable to my calling than the information and training I had given to them. Learning to listen and relating to the many different faceted personality types and desires of women unlocked a new level of compassionate care for others.
The joys shared with my clients as well as the bond established with my clients is a stake I can place in the ground to say, "This is what it is all about". I truly wish I could end my story on the "joyous" gift midwifery has given to me, but there is another side. The other side reveals the women who experience pain and tragedy through less than optimal outcomes, or to the women who desperately desire a repeat home birth, but through tears, you inform them you cannot provide care due to concerns you developed while serving them in their prior pregnancy. These times demand I ask myself again...Why?
The answer for me is in understanding that the lifestyle and calling given to me is something I must be true to myself to see to the finish line. We touch women's lives and leave a remnant of ourselves in any and all situations. By giving ourselves away, we actually find ourselves. We have the privilege and honor to experience the joys as well as bear other's burdens in ways sometimes only we as individuals can touch. This brings a true bond between those we find we are in relationship with. By bringing the gifts you uniquely hold within yourself, and allowing them to be used for another's benefit, you provide a beautiful extension of the calling placed upon your life. This in turn, opens us to the growth and maturation our client's bring to our lives as well.
The joys and hardships of midwifery are real. It demands at times everything we are. At the end of my service, I desire to know that I have ran a good race, have been faithful to the calling, and have left this field with an imprint of love and compassionate care to women who may never had opportunity to experience it.