I attended a birth as a doula this week. It was my first “natural” birth and an all around beautiful one. (As an aside, I’m still looking for a better alternative that “natural.” The reason I don’t love the term is exemplified in stories like this one. Any ideas?) It was a birth I walked away from feeling profoundly honored to have been able to attend – let alone to be in a role supporting such an incredibly strong and centered mama. It was also a remarkable birth for a hospital birth – the staff cared about this laboring woman, read her birth plan (for real), and did everything in their power to provide her with the labor and birth and type of care she wanted. I definitely applaud the work they put in to making this happen! And you know what else? I got to cut the cord! A very exciting honor for anyone, let alone a midwifery student.
It definitely feels different having attended a birth in midwifery school. There are all sorts of little things along the way on this journey that make it a little bit more real – things like learning hard skills like venipuncture and speculum exams as well as attending and participating in prenatal and postpartum appointments. When I do these things, I feel a little bit more like some day I really am going to be a midwife – it’s not just a far-off distant dream. Attending a birth feels like a huge step towards the reality of being a midwife. And it seems like a necessary rite of passage – it certainly feels like I’m really a midwifery student now, not just someone attending midwifery school.