Hi! My name is Zoe, I’m a registered nurse/midwife, and I’d love to tell you a little bit about what I do!
In the traditional sense, a midwife is someone who helps you deliver your baby into this world. But in a more realistic sense, midwifery is so much more…
When introduced to the birthing world for the first time, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, intimidated, clueless even, as to what would occur in those moments after a mother was told “you’re ten centimetres dilated”. The baby just comes with ease, right?
I was wrong.
Birth to me is complex and full of emotion, intrigue, mystery, power and resilience. A true celebration of the prowess and wonder of the female form, in all its glory. Whilst birth is nothing short of incredible, there was a side to being a midwife that I never knew existed.
You see, midwives in the movies are just “there”. They show up, guide the baby into the world, dust their hands and call it a day; but what happens after the baby arrives? What does their role consist of outside the glory and triumph of birth?
My role as a midwife is not limited to birth suite. It rather begins from the moment you see me as a pregnant person, and ends around 6 weeks postpartum. I have a clinical role, as well as an emotional role. For a period of time, I am your support. I am your person. An extension of your friendship group. It is my job to transform our interactions from being strange and scary, to one that harbours trust. Trust is of the upmost importance. Trust allows me to step into my role and guide you to having the birth you’ve dreamed of, even if it doesn’t go according to plan. I’m the educator, the teacher, the scholar. I provide you with the tools you need to make the best decisions for you, and your baby. These tools are not just limited to the “this is how you push” stuff, because I’m a “girl’s girl” at heart, I will find ways to support you in whatever way I can. I will literally surf the internet at obscene hours of the morning finding the best of the best for you, whether it’s related to birth, or the best breastfeeding garment (Apéro the label obviously), you can bet I’ll be across it! I support you through your transgressions, whether they are relative to birth or not, because it’s a part of my job to care for YOU, holistically, empathetically and with your needs at the forefront of all else. I prioritise you over myself, my family and my needs for a period of time, because that’s the essence of my role. To serve. In the postpartum, I teach you, I observe, I monitor and I get to see you transition into a mother. For me, that’s the best part. Those moments when you finally feel confident to do it all yourself, those moments when you change your first nappy, run your first bath, get up to walk after a caesarean or cry tears of joy because your little one you’ve always dreamed of is finally here. Those moments are mine too. A tiny little fragment in time shared between two people becomes a part of my story. Your joy is something I share, your pain is something I share, your loss and heartache, is something I carry with me too.
Midwives are far from the “baby catchers” we’re thought to be. We’re so much more than that, and it’s part of why we experience the crippling burn out that we do. Because you see, birth extends far beyond just birthing the baby. Birth is transitional. It transitions babies into the world, transitions people into parents, and midwives into someone you will remember forever. It’s a lot, but it’s something midwives wouldn’t trade for the world.
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