Recent Events in the Life of one Student Midwife

What’s been going on in the life of this student midwife lately? A lot of beautiful things. I’ve been:

:: Attending some beautiful, smooth, and perfectly normal homebirths

:: Starting to perform more hands-on skills with clients, and just in general get more involved and enmeshed in this practice

:: Increasing my own confidence dramatically when talking with clients, piping up frequently to share my own knowledge or unique point of view

:: Helping teach childbirth education classes

:: Trying to beat the Austin heat by drinking coconut water, fizzy fruit juices, and delicious tomato cucumber salads

:: Listening to radio shows featuring Ina May Gaskin and talking about birth justice while cleaning my kitchen

:: Bringing breakfast in bed to my sweetie after long nights up with our new puppy

:: Getting opportunities to palpate bellies holding twins and breeches. Increasingmy skills and feeling honored to be a part of these mamas’¬†journeys

:: Getting more involved in the queer community in Austin

:: Taken on my first client where I will (keep your fingers crossed) act as primary under supervision for much of her prenatal care and at her birth. The first one of many, I hope

:: And finally, trying to take really good care of myself as I gear up for what may well be adeluge of births in the next couple of weeks

Student Midwife

As I’ve been here in Austin, I feel like a subtle but important shift is taking place. I feel like I have moved into the realm of being a student midwife instead of the midwifery student I was before. While up at Birthwise in Maine I definitely felt like I was a student of midwifery, and even though I was heavily involved in the practice I had my clinical rotations at, felt much more like a midwifery student than a student midwife. Down here in Austin, I am working in a practice full-time and things have shifted slightly.

On some level, it still feels like I’m arriving in Austin just like I’m arriving at the role of student midwife. The change is not yet complete. Even though we’ve been here since the end of March (!!!), when people ask me how things are going in Austin I invariably tell them I’m settling in. That’s how I feel with the role of student midwife. I’ve come to Austin, I’ve begun with this practice, I’m here, but I’m still stepping into my full role. It’s exciting and I think there are great things in store for me. But I’m actively building my confidence, participating actively, offering advice and sharing my knowledge as appropriate. It’s amazing to look a little bit into the future and try to guess what I will feel like or what my skill level will be in a years time when I will supposedly graduate from Birthwise and set out on the journey of beginning to practice as a full-fledged midwife. Yesterday in an appointment, my midwife described me as just finishing up the end of my training with this practice. Which I suppose is true. I’ll be here until my numbers are complete and I’m ready to take the NARM exam. Describing myself as a student midwife seems much more like I’m almost a midwife than when I use the words midwifery student. I am stepping up to the plate and acting as a student midwife instead of sitting in a classroom and doing the book-learning portion of my education.

All in all, it’s very exciting to be in this transitory time.