Anyone who has been witness to a woman birthing knows that extreme emotions feature strongly throughout the process. So how does a student of midwifery cope with this?
I’ve witnessed births that can take anything from 45 minutes to 25 hours, and sometimes you just have to go with the roller coaster of emotions. I remember the first birth that I was part of I was just bumbling in the corner, crying my eyes out because I was just so overcome with the miracle of birth. Unfortunately, there are also times when you have something unexpected happen, such as when a stillbirth occurs. Crying can be a natural response because it says I am grieving with you.
Even when everything is going fine and looking like the birth is going to be textbook perfect, something unexpected can happen and you always need to be aware and knowledgeable of that. So, you need to be resilient and be able to persevere through some very difficult times.
But the most important ingredient I think to being a midwife is having compassion, to just be present and to listen. As you know some mums can suffer from the postnatal blues or even depression, and as a midwife we need to be understanding and alert to the early signs of this in our follow-up visits.
Of course, the most rewarding part of being a midwife is being there for the miracle of birth itself which makes all the effort so worth it. The smiles on the parents’ faces means more than any words could say.
When I went back to Proserpine Hospital for my second rotation there, I had at least three ladies come back to the hospital to show off their babies that I had helped to birth and ask me if I could be their midwife for their next baby. That level of trust you get is just phenomenal and is what makes the midwifery profession so special to me.