This week marks National Midwifery Week and I am a big fan of my midwives. Today’s action from the American College of Nurse-Midwives is to Take Action and Spread the Word, so I am taking that to heart. Here are five of the top reasons I think every woman should see a midwife for care.
- 1.They don’t just handle childbirth. When I shared with my family that I was switching from a traditional Ob/GYN to a midwifery for my first pregnancy, they understood but when I continued to be in a midwife’s care after my children were growing up, many assumed I would only see a midwife while I was pregnant. A midwife takes care of all women, not just child-bearing women. They handle the same things a regular Women’s Care Center does – Pap smears, breast exams, screenings, and birth control just to name a few.
- 2.You feel like you’re talking to a trusted family member, like your aunt or a grandmother. I hug my midwives when I see them. They answer my questions and take the time to really understand who I am as a person, not just a file they’ve perused for 15 seconds before they opened the door to the patient examination room. They research things I’ve asked them about and will text me or FB message me when something comes up that I might be interested in. They know me as a whole woman, not just as a patient.
- 3.Midwives made me feel more cared for than my OBs. During my second pregnancy, we received shocking news that our baby might not make it to term and that I should prepare for a “catastrophic” event to occur before delivery. The neonatal specialist lacked any bedside manner and I felt scared, uncertain, and worried. My midwife sat with me and hugged me while I cried. She was there with me when they told me this awful news, but she didn’t try to fix it or make it go away. She sat with me and let me cry, but didn’t rush to the next patient or ask me to come back next week.
- 4.With a midwife, everything seems simpler. Sharing a natural birth plan with my OB was very intimidating, but when I shared it with my midwife, she nodded and said, “Let’s do it.” When I was at hour 24 of labor with my firstborn and very nervous I would have a forced C-section, she smiled and said, “There’s still plenty of time.” Even now, if my hormone levels are a little off, I can receive test results via text messages and recommended dietary changes over Facebook. It’s not as complicated as multiple visits to a primary physician.
- 5.All three of my babies were delivered with the care of a midwife. I feel very lucky that my babies were born this way – calmly, securely, and quietly. The midwives let me take charge of their deliveries - encouraging me to change positions and walk, talk, eat, drink if I felt it would make labor go more easily. I am still in contact with each of the three women who helped me to deliver my boys, and there is an enormous bond because of this. The key is they helped me to deliver my boys. They knew the power to do it was within me, they encouraged me to know this, and they helped me to achieve it. The birth experiences are the most treasured moments of my life.
These are only a few of the reasons I (and many women around the world) love the care they receive from their midwives. What’s your reason to celebrate National Midwifery Week?