Last week, the little guy pictured above celebrated his first birthday, and as his midwife, I was honored to be invited to celebrate as “one of the family.” And in his mother’s reflections of her pregnancy and birth, I walked with her again through that intense, joyful, sometimes frightening journey and was reminded that my role as a midwife does not end after the baby is born, or even at the six-week postpartum visit. The things I say and the care I offer will be remembered for a lifetime. The potential influence on a mother, and through her, on a family is tremendous.
I love having the opportunity to get to know a family during their pregnancy, to build bonds of trust months before the birth. But the emotional connection can be created in just a few moments. I had never met the midwife who caught my first child until she came on shift in the birth center many hours into my labor and I did not speak to her again for over 14 years. And yet she had an incredibly profound influence on what happened during my birth as well, how I felt about my birth and my body’s abilities, my confidence as an 18-year-old single mother, and eventually my decision to become a midwife myself. I am sure she did not remember me when I looked her up years later! I was blessed to be able to tell her how much of an impact she had made on my life’s story.
With every birth, I am stepping into another family’s story at an exciting and climactic moment. My role may be a small and minor one or I may be part of a plot development that completely changes the direction of the narrative.