Why I Want to be a Midwife

I want to be a midwife because I want to make a positive difference in the lives of women through direct service by providing holistic midwifery care in empowering settings. I first felt the unmistakable calling to be a midwife while attending my first birth as a doula. Until that time, I was unsure whether I was meant to work as a doula, childbirth educator, midwife, or in another capacity. My cousin’s wife T. was pregnant with their first child and expressed interest in having me attend her birth when she learned about my doula training. My cousin’s birth was a case study in typical hospital birth: she was given an IV drip, had her waters broken, had an epidural, and had constant fetal monitoring. Although these interventions were introduced as freely chosen preferences, I knew that T. was being presented with limited options. I felt torn by my frustration at hospital procedure and my dedication to support and empower her through her labor regardless of the circumstances.

The moment the baby crowned, I knew I was meant to be a midwife. In an instant, my dual passions for social justice and women’s health coalesced into a single, irrefutable knowing that my life’s work was midwifery. As T. pushed new life into the world, I was transfixed. The mood in the room changed and none of my previous frustrations mattered. There was nowhere else I would rather have been. It was in this moment that the trajectory of my life was set as I realized that my calling was not to be a doula on a casual basis but a midwife ushering in new life on a full-time basis.

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2 responses to “Why I Want to be a Midwife

    • Kate,
      Thanks so much for sharing this! Beyond the fact that I’d love to meet Melissa Cheyney (midwife and medical anthropology professor?), this article is great. I thought the following passage summarized the situation perfectly:

      “One of the biggest problems Cheyney sees is that physicians only come into contact with midwives when something has gone wrong with the homebirth, and the patient has been transported to the hospital for care. There are a number of reasons why this interaction often is tension-filled and unpleasant for both sides, she says.

      First is the assumption that homebirth must be dangerous, because the patient they’re seeing has had to be transported to the hospital. Secondly, the physician is now taking on the risk of caring for a patient who is unknown to them, and who has a medical chart provided by a midwife which may not include the kind of information the physician is used to receiving.

      And because the midwife is often feeling defensive and upset, Cheyney said, the contact between her and the physician can often be tense and unproductive. Meanwhile, the patient, whose intention was not to have a hospital birth, is already feeling upset at the change in birth plan, and is now watching her care provider come into conflict with the stranger who is about to deliver her baby.”

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