It’s International Day of the Midwife, when midwives across the globe celebrate what they do. Since it was first launched by the (ICM) in 1992, 5 May has been the internationally recognised day for spotlighting the work of midwives.
So, what does being a midwife mean? Midwife officially means “with woman” in latin but what does being a midwife working for the NHS really mean?
We live in a complex world with complex people so one of the reasons I’m in love with midwifery is because there’s no faking or filter. The look of love in a mothers eyes as I pass her newborn baby is what I consider to be true, raw beauty. Nothing else gives you that feeling, it’s addictive and thrilling. The endurance, the importance and the ‘golden’ first family moment when parents meet baby. The emotions that pour out are indescribable and I just want to protect both mother and baby.
I see that as my role, a protector and facilitator of health and wellbeing. There are so many various aspects involved with midwifery but if I were to pin point one it would be that. You are always protecting and prioritsing health, thinking about what you can do to better the situation, peeking into the future and preventing rather than curing.
We are there through it all and become a bit of a Jack of all traits. We wipe tears, hold hands, monitor clinical health, vital signs, support breastfeeding and manage emergencies as well as provide emotional support and encouraging words of wisdom. You have to constantly prioritise by reassessing. So as time goes by things change, she wanted a back rub 20 minutes ago but now she doesn’t want you to touch her. Her blood pressure was fine at 7pm but it’s abnormal at 11pm. You have to constantly reassess the situation and have an aerial view of an individual womans needs both clinical and emotional.
Sometimes just your words alone change a woman’s experience and mind set. It can be hard at 4am when you haven’t eaten or had a break but your motivation is the fact you are supporting a woman bring new life into the world so your needs take a back seat. Because everyone is so different you must judge what that particular woman needs and then your encouragement will flow. There’s no one rule fits all in midwifery and that’s what maintains my fascination with it; you are constantly learning.
Not just learning about midwifery, women and scientific research but you learn about yourself too. There are certain experiences and sights you can’t un-see and if someone had told my 18 year old self what I would have to manage I would have said “no way, I’ll crumble” but I didn’t. That taught me a lot about myself. Many of us underestimate ourselves. Women are incredible and if I am ever struggling with the general stresses of life I remember the strength and power of the women I have met and this instantly puts things into perspective. If anyone is unsure about their career choice I’d really recommend looking into midwifery. There’s no job on earth like it.
“Health” starts in pregnancy. You are entirely dependent on your mothers health to provide you with and preserve your life. If you don’t have health it affects every single aspect of your life and midwives get to be a part of promoting health at the beginning of life.
Happy International Day of the Midwife.