I felt a need to follow, support and be with women, which is essentially what a midwife does. At 15, I decided that my purpose is helping women. I’m very comfortable being around women. When you’re training as a midwife, the training experiences you have shape you as a practitioner. One of my first ever births, aged 18, was a home birth in the pool. She was young and she had a toddler there as well – it was amazing. This has since been my comfort zone, my normal. I’ve enjoyed the labour ward work, my mentors there were insanely good at what they did, so I’ve had a good grounding from them.
I changed as a midwife when I had my own children; I ‘felt’ how important it is to be in touch with the woman not just as a body to look after, but also as a ‘being’ more. When I’m doing a birth plan or I am at a birth, I can feel the oxytocin rush too. I’m always trying to be a better version of myself, trying not to be scared of the fact that I am able to work ‘in tune’, because when I am with women in labour I don’t question it, I go to a place that is very intuitive.
If I could gift other women anything, it would be that sense of innate strength and innate knowing of what your body can do. I’m fully aware that we do need medicine and intervention, but I think we’ve lost a lot of trusting and innate knowing of our bodies and ourselves. I’m so aware that the majority of women I look after are starting out with a poor knowledge base and a very poor trust base; we don’t have that trust in our bodies anymore and we don’t know how to ‘surrender’ to it either. It doesn’t come through from anywhere. Our thinking brains have evolved to help us in so many ways but those innate aspects of living- birth need us to be able to turn this part of the brain off.
Everything we see and hear via the media is very dramatic in their presentation. Midwifery is an art and a science. Everything with pregnancy and birth is both an art and a science. But in this modern age, we’ve gone very scientific because we’ve needed to in certain ways and at times it has been at the detriment of the art. The way this presents itself in the woman is that innate knowing, the wisdom, the comfortable trust has been lost so they rely on the science more so. What we need to do is rebalance. The science/art debate has been present in midwifery for some time, but it’s both. Women are both. Society as a whole, we are all both.