Apart from being a follower of Jesus, and a wife to my amazing husband, being a mom and a midwife are two of the largest roles I play in my life. Sometimes, they are both exhausting, and sometimes I wonder what in the world I was thinking trying to do both at the same time…….but by God’s grace I am able to find a balance.
While pondering the two roles, I have come to the conclusion that there are several similarities, and share so many challenges and rewards.
1.) Lack of Sleep- In my girls early years I was waking up all hours of the night to feed, change, rock, comfort, or sing to them. Though now, (thankfully) those days are fewer and farther between. None-the-less, there are still those random nights that I am awakened to clean up puke, snuggle after a bad dream, or comfort during a storm. Oh, but those nights of being awakened to help a laboring mama and catch a newborn baby are never ending………but, in the end its all okay, because the reward is great! It all adds up to more time loving my babies, or helping moms to welcome babies of their own.
2.) Listening to whining and complaining- I don’t know if it is just a girl thing or not, but it seems as though the whining and complaining is NEVERENDING!!!! I am constantly having to remind my girls to not use such a whining tone when they are saying something, or to please, please, please just simply do what I ask without giving me lip about it first. On a similar note, my pregnant patients don’t whine so much, which gives me some hope that my girls will outgrow it!! However, they do complain a bit! Not that they don’t have a valid reason to complain, because the list of common discomforts of pregnancy is quite long. But, they are COMMON discomforts of pregnancy, meaning that they are NORMAL!! I get quite tired of explaining that over and over and over again, but it’s what I do……..so, I will continue to do so, with a smile on my face!!
3.) Educating and Supporting- As a mom to my girls, I am constantly teaching them. Teaching them about being a follower of Jesus, and putting him first always! Teaching them how to put together a cute outfit, how to properly groom themselves, how to cook, how to clean, how to be more organized, how to manage money, how to think about their actions and the potential consequences……the list goes on and on. It is oh so rewarding to see the fruits of my labor! What a nice surprise it is when they have done the dishes or cleaned their room without being asked to do so. Better yet, I love the moments when I see them being kind and loving to one another. Small victories so often make my day!! They are still young and learning, and aren’t ready to be trusted to make decisions completely on their own. Actually, I am quite confident if they were given the opportunity to do so, they would stay up all night watching movies and eating popcorn and cookies. As they get MUCH older, I will have to trust that I have taught them well, and support the decisions that they make as adults (well, within reason). It will not be easy to relinquish control, but little by little, I will have to do it, if they are going to grow up and become independent. Being a midwife, also involves an endless abundance of teaching, it is something I do on a daily basis, with every patient I encounter. The list of things that I teach my patients is unending. It is my role as their midwife to teach, discuss options, and then support their decisions. Many things related to pregnancy and birth, are not black and white. What is right for one patient may not be right for another. There are often times that I wish that I was in control of the decisions that my patients make, like I am with my girls, but ultimately I am not.
4.) Encouraging- I try to give my girls regular encouragement, though I’m sure I don’t do it enough. I find that far too often I am pointing out what they have done wrong, or how they could do better. I am working on being more deliberate with the positive things that I am saying to them. They need to be reassured that they are doing something well, or that they have made a good decision. My oldest daughter is often times much too hard on herself, and I am constantly trying to encourage her to be more positive. My providing them an encouraging word can be the driving force for them to keep working, to try harder, and to not give up on what it is they are trying to achieve. With the patients I see, I don’t find myself pointing out their flaws, or telling them when they are doing something wrong. If I did that, I believe that I probably wouldn’t have very many patients coming to see me! However, I do find myself encouraging them in a similar way that I encourage my children. I encourage them to seek knowledge, and to make informed decisions about their care, their pregnancy, and their birth. I encourage them to stick to their convictions, and to do what they feel is right for them. Throughout the labor process, I encourage them along the path that they have chosen, and when they must deviate from the plan, I encourage them to not lose hope, because sometimes change is necessary. Ultimately, I encourage them through to the end, until they are holding their precious new baby skin to skin on their chest.
Being a mom and a midwife are both very rewarding, fulfilling roles, and I am so grateful that I am able to do both. Thankfully, I continue to learn and grow in each role with every passing day! There is always something to be learned, and very rarely a dull moment!! Life is good. God is good!
So……I have decided to start blogging. I should know by now to never say never. I’ve always wondered how people find the time to do it, and that is definitely the last thing I have on my hands……Time!! After being a midwife for almost three years now, there are so many things that I wish I had written down. So many stories that I would like to remember. So many things that I have learned, and continue to learn every day. The moms, dads, and babies that I work with are often my best teachers!
I guess the best place to start is to tell you a little bit about myself, and how I got started on this journey of being a midwife. As a thirteen year old girl, I was asked to be present at the birth of a close family friend. She wanted her 4 children to be there when their baby brother was born, and she needed someone to watch over them. I know it was a life changing moment for Cathy, as she pushed her baby into the world, but it was a life changing moment for me too! To say that I was amazed at the beauty of the miracle of birth is a huge understatement! Thank you Cathy Therrell and baby Christopher (well not so much a baby anymore) I will be forever grateful!
After witnessing the birth of baby Christopher, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to be a nurse, so that I could be a part of helping bring new life into the world! I pursued my nursing degree wholeheartedly after graduating high school and became a labor and delivery nurse almost immediately after graduating with my BSN. I was 20 weeks pregnant with my beautiful, now 10 year old Jillian at the time.
It wasn’t until college that I even knew what a midwife was. After several years of working in labor and delivery, and after the births of my two beautiful girls, God started to lay on my heart that he wanted me to become a midwife. There were some things that I encountered as a nurse, which I believe were related to the over-medicalization of a natural process, and my own birth experiences that were the driving force for me to pursue my degree in Midwifery.
To tell a little about my own birth experience. I was 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant, and finally agreed to an induction. Pitocin was started at 7 am, my OBGYN came in around 8 am and broke my water. Needless to say, I was not in labor at the time. After 12 hours of Pitocin, and no labor (I was only ever dilated to 2 cm) I was encouraged to have a cesarean section. I was exhausted, had gotten an epidural in effort to relax, hoping that would make my cervix change, and of course it did not. I was never in labor. So, at the recommendation of my OBGYN I had a c-section. In retrospect, there are so many things that could have been done differently. I am not, nor have I ever been angry with my OBGYN. He is a medical doctor, and he manages labor and birth much differently that a midwife does. He did an excellent job with my surgery. I recovered well, had no complications, and had a beautiful, healthy baby girl. However, I did feel like I missed out. Missed out on the chance to feel labor. Missed out on the chance to actively participate in bringing my baby into the world. Missed out on being the first to touch her, to be able to place her on my chest, and touch her little hands and feet. It was an emotional scar, and I feel like it could have been avoided. I will never know if it could have been different. I will always wonder. Ultimately, I am grateful for my beautiful baby girl!
Don’t get me wrong. I am not a hater of c-sections. It is actually quite the opposite. I am very grateful for the wonderful Doctors that I work with, and their ability to do surgery. C-sections at times are very necessary, and can save the life of a mom or baby. I just don’t like c-sections that can be avoided and aren’t truly necessary.
I’m nut sure where this blogging venture will lead me, or exactly what I will write about, but I guess we’ll see what the future holds.
Please comment. Is there anything you would like to know, any topics you are interested in. Please share! Your questions or comments may help to guide me J
Birth is truly a miracle of our Lord! I never cease to be amazed and in awe of how awesome God is every time a new life emerges into my waiting hands. I am so blessed to be a part of this miracle every day.
~Ashley Saint, CNM
Psalm 139:13-16 Continue reading