Friday, April 29, 2011


Lately, I've been asked a lot by prospective student midwives and classes of high school students to share about the hardest part of being a midwife.

I usually will laugh and say it's the lack of sleep that goes along with birth work. But honestly, I don't really mind missing sleep. In the moment, it can be hard to have been physically awake for more than 24 plus hours, but we make do.

I've been really pondering this question internally, though: What is the hardest part of being a midwife (for me)?

I've come to the conclusion that it is the never ending questioning that I do of myself, or my actions, of how things play out.

There are a handful of births that haunt me, that I constantly turn over and over in my head, thinking about them from different angles, wondering why things happened the way they did. This has got to be the hardest thing. I've attended a couple of births which I have thought about daily for what seems like months, and then the memory slowly fades from my daily thoughts, and then when a random occurrence brings up the memory, it feels as if a scab has been pulled from my skin and my emotions are raw all over again.

(I want to make it clear that these handful of births had good outcomes...healthy mother, healthy baby. Some were transports, some were homebirths.)

Being a midwife has taught me so many things that have nothing to do with birth or babies. It has been an amazing journey. I suspect that many midwives begin their journey with their ego leading the way. There are many other professions where this is probably the case, but in midwifery, I run across it often. I know that for me, personally, being involved in birth and midwifery has taught me (and I am still learning!) big huge lessons about the ego.


Erika said...

Absolutely. I run every birth over and over again in my head. Even great outcomes. I will find myself wondering if I should have used more intervention or less, if I talked too much or didn't encourage the mother enough. If I had done x, y, or z could a transport have been prevented? Because of x, y, or z, should we have actually transported even though the birth ended well? I agree that this is very hard. I thought, as a student, that by the time I got to practicing that I would feel really wise and wouldn't question myself. Not true. I question myself a whole lot more as a midwife than I ever did as a student :)

Zion said...

Lovely post. I was under the care of several midwives when I had to stay in hospital with my early baby, and they were all like angels to me. Yet they were also the most overworked people I have ever met. Love to you all x