|April 24, 2013|
Volume 15, Issue 9
|Midwifery Today E-News|
“Being a Midwife”
|Subscribe • Print Page|
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Attend “Comfort Techniques for Midwives and Doulas,” a full-day pre-conference class with Debra Pascali-Bonaro. You’ll learn about techniques such as the gate control theory of pain, hot and cold compresses, music, massage/touch, acupressure, aromatherapy and the birthing ball. You’ll see demonstrations of a variety of positions and techniques for both first and second stage, and there will be time for hands-on practice. Registrants at previous conferences have raved about this class, calling it fun and informative. Part of our conference in Belgium 30 October – 3 November, 2013.
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In This Week’s Issue
Quote of the Week
I believe that the...most important thing you can do for mothers, babies, fathers and society is to keep walking forward in your calling. Changing our birth ways will take all of us doing what we are called to do.
— Jan Tritten
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The Art of Midwifery
I know I make a difference. I do as much as I can to help make each birth as sacred, loving, gentle, peaceful, empowering, connecting and celebratory as possible. With the threat of Nubain, Pitocin, epidurals, cesareans and egos looming so closely, it is not necessarily an easy thing, but it is the best I can do.
ALL BIRTH PRACTITIONERS: The techniques you’ve perfected over months and years of practice are valuable lessons for others to learn! Share them with E-News readers by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send submissions, inquiries, and responses to newsletter items to: email@example.com.
The Call to Midwifery
“You have the best job in the world!” I hear this quite often when I tell people what I do. I agree, of course. I do have the best job in the world. I know, however, that the vision in the mind’s eye of the speaker is the blissful moment when the baby slowly crowns and then slips its way into the waiting hands of a calm, not-at-all-blood-splattered midwife. The reality, of course, is that by the time the slippery-baby-entry thing happens, the calm midwife has been through many hours of back-rubbing, poop-wiping, cervix-checking, amniotic fluid-splashing labor.
At the time of the birth, I am hopefully calm, but also fatigued, sweaty and hungry. And don’t get me started on the post-birth photos! Why can’t we take those at the beginning, when my hair is brushed and I don’t have creases on my face from sleeping at the foot of the bed on a wadded-up towel? Oh, right, the baby’s not out then, and the baby figures prominently in birth photo ops.
Still, I do have the most amazing job. Well, not a job, really. For me, it’s a calling. A vocation—from the Latin word vocare, which means to call or to summon.
What’s the difference between a job and a calling? It’s simple—you choose a job, but a calling chooses you. It finds you and then harasses you until you respond. Of course, you might respond with a resounding, “No way!” But I’m inclined to believe that callings are not so easily deterred.
Sometimes, I think my call to midwifery came to me before I even knew what a midwife was. It probably came way back when, as I crowded my way into our tiny back bathroom to help one of our many cats birth her kittens. Or perhaps it came long before that, before my birth—a little egg awaiting its destiny in my mother’s ovary, with the midwifery gene already programmed in.
However long its dormancy, the call presented itself loud and clear when I wandered into a bookstore on 8th Street in Greenwich Village in New York City. A misplaced Southerner, I had enrolled at NYU during the winter term. I was struggling with everything—leaving home, the biting cold, city life, down coats and gloves—when I stumbled into that store. There, on a bookshelf facing the entrance was a beautiful book, the cover all purple and swirls. It literally called to me. I took off my gloves and pulled it off the shelf. Spiritual Midwifery. Hmm. What’s that? A quick glance. The book was mine.
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Read this article excerpt from the Spring 2013 issue of Midwifery Today:
Q: Why are you a midwife?
— Midwifery Today
A: I worked as a birth doula for a number of years prior to having children of my own. After the birth of my first baby, I knew there was more, so much more to birth than I had previously understood. I took the whole family on a trip, my pilgrimage really, to The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. After we got home, I researched my pathways to midwifery and ultimately I chose to apprentice with an awesome midwife—a choice I have never regretted! Being a midwife has been such a beautiful lifework! It is a lot of work, being on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but next to birthing four beautiful babies of my own, it is my life’s greatest accomplishment!
— Rachel Curnel Struempf
A: It’s my destiny, who I am and what I was meant to do!
— Claire Andrews
A: I am a midwife because I believe every woman should have the opportunity to give birth in her chosen environment, surrounded by people who love her and who honor her strength.
— Linda Roberts
A: That’s like asking why I’m a woman or why I’m 5'5". It took me a while to grow into womanhood and it took me some time to reach this height. It will take me a good amount of time to become the midwife I want to be, but it’s always been there in me.
— Jodi Borsk
A: As an aspiring midwife hoping to start my journey this coming fall, my motivation is the importance of treating mothers and their families with respect during the childbearing year. The way a mother is treated during her birth experience can impact her negatively or positively for her whole life. I am blessed to have received compassionate, loving midwifery care for my children’s births, and believe that the midwifery model of care holds great promise for changing the face of birth in North America.
— Kyla Wong
A: I am a midwife because I love to witness women becoming mothers, coming into their own power and being in charge of their experiences. It’s amazing!
— Roux Anne
My First Conference
I recently attended my first Midwifery Today conference. Usually my MT work involves editing articles and contacting faceless inboxes, so it was a real joy to put faces to the names of many of our ongoing contributors. My main thought as I sat in the classes of Michel Odent, Sister MorningStar and Carol Gautschi was this: I should be sitting in a packed basketball stadium with standing room only as I listen to these teachers speak. The depth and power of the birth wisdom shared is priceless to anyone with a passion for gentle birth and so many people need to hear it.
I am sure many of our readers have thought about attending a Midwifery Today conference. Unfortunately, getting away and affording a trip can be trickier for some than for others, but where there is a will, there is a way. The caliber of teachers who come to spread their knowledge is unparalleled and attendees will not be disappointed. Here’s to looking forward to the next conference in Belgium!
— Nancy Halseide, managing editor for Midwifery Today
Craving more birth info?
I was laboring at home with my second baby and had already requested quiet and no movement around me. I was deep in my “labor-land” when I was startled with someone throwing a water balloon into the bathroom behind me. I looked up very annoyed that someone would think it would be funny to start tossing water balloons around me while I was in labor. It wasn’t until the midwife a second later popped her head in and said, “Hooray! Your water broke!” that I realized I had just passed a milestone in the labor process. I was more shocked with her explanation than I was about my water balloon theory. I was so into my own universe that I forgot that I was in the thick of having a baby!
— Ely Mujica Bradway
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