Someone asked me the other day, if I liked my job. I took a breath and I thought about it for a moment. And then a moment later I answered with my standard response about the highs and lows and ups and downs of life as a midwife.
A few days went by, but I couldn’t shake this question from my head. It’s a question that I’ve been asked many times before, but this time I kept thinking about it, and replaying my answer. I felt dissatisfied, like I hadn’t done it justice. It lingered in my mind, and I knew that I’d answered it half-heartedly. Not that the person who had asked me was bothered. My answer had served the purpose in the moment, and to them I had answered the question. But for me, I knew that I hadn’t answered it from my heart. Anyone who knows anything about birth, or about being a midwife, knows that you cannot do it half-heartedly. Either you are in, or you are out. There is no place in the middle (or if you are hanging out in the middle, you probably need to be out).
Fast forward a few days and I am sitting at BINI Birth waiting for Gena Kirby to begin her Rebozo workshop (which deserves a whole new other post), wondering what the next few hours were about to bring. 6 hours later and I am sitting in tears, in complete awe of this woman, and I find that I have all the answers I will ever need to that question I’d been sitting with all week.
Over those 6 hours, I’d forgotten about any other part of my job that brought me down. Any negativity towards it had completely left my body. All I was left with was this raw realization, and this complete clarity as to why exactly I love my job. The workshop was amazing for so many reasons, but in Gena’s own words, ‘it’s not all about the robozo’. For me, it’s not even all about the birth. What stood out to me today, as if in bold neon letters above my head, is that, ‘it’s all about the journey’. I knew this already, but somehow what I experienced over those 6 hours, just reaffirmed it on such a deep level for me. It reinforced my belief that life is a journey, not a destination. It doesn’t matter where you go, or what turns you make, or even where you end up. It’s about how you feel in that moment in your life. In my job I get to watch peoples’ worlds unfold. I get to witness their hearts grow and open. I get to touch someone else’s version of love. I get welcomed in to these precious moments in their lives where everything changes. I get to be a apart of this rite of passage in to womanhood. I get to walk side by side with these women, along the well trodden path to motherhood. And to me, that is everything.
For me, there is no other job in the world that could touch that.
The Royal Derby Hospital where I did my Midwifery training in England, is leading the way in Midwifery led care after receiving a £224,000 make-over in order to create a ‘home from home’ environment within the birthing unit. The maternity ward now homes an in-hospital birthing center where low risk moms can choose to give birth with minimal intervention, in a homely environment. It is well document that the environment in which women give birth, has a huge impact on the progression of labor and a woman’s overall childbirth experience. Staff within the unit wanted to create an environment where families could receive one-to-one care from a midwife in a “private and friendly” setting, without emphasis on medical intervention.
Last year, the Government announced it was awarding the Derby hospital a grant of £224,000 to make improvements to its maternity department. The money has been used to install a second birthing tub. The second birth pool will be used by women considered ‘high risk’ in the hope that this will bring a sense of normality back to their pregnancies. A separate entrance to the birthing center has also been created, along with the addition of a kitchenette for families to use during labor. Improvements have also been made to the overall decor, adding mood lighting and murals to the rooms. Floor mats, colourful lights, birthing chairs, birth balls, music and aromatherapy treatments will also be available to help create an “atmosphere of tranquillity”.
Lets hope hospitals across the pond can follow in the same footsteps in the near future to help support moms to give birth naturally. Not everyone is suited to an out of hospital birth, and therefore may need or want to give birth in the hospital. These women should still be able to receive care in an environment which is welcoming, relaxing, and conducive to natural birth. As Midwife Sue explains, ‘ultimately, this is about giving women more choice when it comes to how they want to give birth. The birth rate is going up and we think it is really positive that we can offer this atmosphere of normality – with the option of medical support if mums need it.”
Despite what we are led to believe, our bodies work pretty well. They work in the same way they have done for millions of years. Our bodies have the same innate level of wisdom and survival features that they always have. The same ones that have allowed our species to successfully exist on this planet for hundreds of generations. When you really think about it, Mother Nature came up with a pretty fantastic design (although it may not always seem like it) for pregnancy, labor, birth and breastfeeding. When it all unfolds naturally, the concoction of hormones, emotions, reflexes and innate behaviors that evolve from both the mother and the baby, paint the most perfect picture.
Whilst in England recently, I came across the ‘Natural Birthing Company’ at a baby show event. They are consist of a group of Midwives with a holistic approach to Maternity care. They offer a number of services including doula support, educational classes and luxurious baby moon packages!
They also have a range of aromatherapy products to pamper moms and moms-to be in preparation for birth and motherhood. This is where I discovered the ‘Midwives’ Bomb’, which I think is a genius product! A yummy fizzy bath bomb which you can either use as a pre-labor treat to prepare your body, or during labor as a labor enhancer. It contains a great combination of goodies designed specifically for labor and birth:
Rosemary – for aching muscles and exhaustion
Vertiver – stress relieving, calming and grounding
Flax Seed Oil – for ripening the cervix
Raspberry Leaf – for toning the uterus and effective contractions during labor
Clary Sage – another uterine tonic, promotes relaxation and reduces emotional stress
Simply pop into the bath (or birth tub), sit back and wait for the magic to begin…
36 weeks on, and my life is about to change.
Over the weekend a few of my friends threw me a Blessing Way Ceremony, and I have been on a natural high ever since. For those of you who are wondering what a Blessing Way is, it is a traditional Native American ceremony, similar to a baby shower in some ways, but it’s focus celebrates a woman’s rite of passage into motherhood, rather than the focus being on the baby and gifts. A Blessing Way ceremony creates a sacred space where a mama-to-be can draw strength from female friends and family, and share in the joys and challenges of motherhood and birthing which lie before her.
One of the traditions of the ceremony is to have each guest bring a single bead or charm to be threaded on to a necklace. The guest brings a bead which either has meaning to them, or is symbolic of strength, courage, wisdom, motherhood or the baby etc… to bring good luck to the mother. The mother then threads all the beads on to a necklace and wears it during labor to bring her strength, courage, good luck, love and support drawn from all the women who are special in her life.
As I stood before my friends and family this weekend, in a place which isn’t my home, where I am away from many of my friends and family, I felt incredibly honored and lucky to have found such a beautiful, loving and supportive group of women in my life.
I felt an enormous sense of pride and confidence in the path that lies before me. It made me think of all the thousands of women before me who’s feet have worn the path ahead. And although my path may take a slightly different route to theirs, somehow, we all end up at the same destination – Motherhood.
I felt proud to be a woman. Knowing that my body has an amazing innate capability to perform this miracle without instruction. The whole day cast aside the odd fleeting nagging voice I’ve been hearing recently, which I’m sure we have all heard from time to time-the ‘what if’, and the ‘I can’t’, and replaced it with something much stronger, louder and more powerful…
Hi Everyone and welcome!
I am excited to be launching my new blog, SmiffyBaby//Certified Organic Births.
As some of you may already know, I am a Midwife and Doula, and I am passionate about all things bumps, babies and beyond! My aim is to create awareness, spark discussion and inspire people to look beyond the ‘normal’ practices that occur within our maternity systems today. I want to celebrate the true beauty of pregnancy and birth, and also create a space where you as followers can offer your opinions and thoughts. So please feel free to send me your feedback. I look forward to hearing from you.
- Join the Revolution (smiffybaby.com)