Why I want to be a midwife...

Me
That's me, pregnant with number 2.
I have to be a midwife. Not, 'I want to be a midwife' or 'I'd like to be a midwife', not anymore.

Etched on every mother's heart is the memory of how she was made to feel at the birth of each of her children. Many women remember the births of their children far more acutely than they remember the day they got married. Every birth transforms, and every transformation we undergo forms part of who we are. This is why I have to be a midwife.

Was she made to feel powerless, as though her wishes were somehow naive and her body defective? Or was she protected, nurtured, encouraged and treated with compassion? Was she loved?

A mother who experiences nurturing and compassion in her pregnancy and while giving birth will find it much easier to treat her children with that same compassion, and her children in turn will learn compassion from her. A mother who is disempowered while giving birth may always second guess herself and her parenting and her role as a mother. This is why I have to be a midwife.</p>

Birth is not merely a painful medical procedure to be endured in order to procreate.

Birth is not merely a painful medical procedure to be endured in order to procreate. Giving birth can be an incredibly affirming and sacred event for every member of the family. A disempowering birth is not an absolute tragedy, the scars can be overcome, but why cause those wounds in the first place? It doesn't have to be like that.

Yes, sometimes birth trauma is a result of of the mother's own unmet expectations, but often it is the result of insensitivity, if not outright brutality on the part of her attendants. Even the woman who has had a fully medicated birth with every intervention imaginable can still feel affirmed as a capable human being and a mother.

This is not about whether you give birth naturally or via a c-section, or whether you used drugs or not, this is about honouring and affirming women no matter how they give birth.

...whenever possible a natural, undisturbed, physiological birth under the supervision of one who trusts women's bodies first, above tools and procedures, offers the best outcomes for all concerned.

Having said that, I cannot stand by and be silent when women are butchered purely because their 'caregivers' care more for their own convenience and reputation, than they do about what is truly best for mom and baby. The current c-section rate of around 75% in private hospitals in my country is inexcusable.

Women who chose to buck the system and actually try to make informed decisions are often ridiculed by their medically oriented caregivers (been there!) or accused of pursuing the romanticised 'natural birth experience' at the expense of the baby's well being. But the more we learn, the more we realise that whenever possible a natural, undisturbed, physiological birth under the supervision of one who trusts women's bodies first, above tools and procedures, offers the best outcomes for all concerned by actually eliminating many of the complications we see as inherent to the birthing process. What is best for mom is usually best for baby too.

My first 'delivery'
That's me with my first delivery as a wannabe midwife...
So this is my mission and my passion, my calling and my career - serving women and their families through that childbearing year. If you had told me five years ago that I would be writing this, I would have thought you were smoking your socks!

So, if you're giving birth in KwaZulu-Natal in the forseeable future and you'd like a trainee doula wannabe midwife at your birth, pick me!

Right now it seems so far away. I want to be a midwife but South Africa doesn't have it's own direct-entry midwifery courses (yet). I also have two small children to take care of - so I can't exactly go rushing off in the middle of the night. I do have options though, and I'll start exercising those options by working towards my doula certification, and obviously researching and writing for my website is another step in the right direction. So, if you're giving birth in KwaZulu-Natal in the forseeable future and you'd like a trainee doula wannabe midwife at your birth, pick me!

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