Speaking exclusively to Pregnancy Matters™ , a soon-to-be-qualified student midwife shares with us the highs and lows of her chosen career and how her ‘inner feminist’ is constantly amazed at how incredible women are in their child-bearing abilities. Learning everything from why she chose to become a midwife to how we might best support women through pregnancy, we absolutely loved hearing from her and we know that you will, too.
Hey! Thanks for writing for us. You’re a student midwife, coming up to graduation in less than a year (congratulations!), why did you decide to pursue a career in midwifery?
Hi, thank you for having me!
And thank you for the congratulations, although the idea of being a real-life-fully-qualified-midwife is rather daunting at the moment so we will move on swiftly…
I decided to pursue a career in midwifery, mostly because the concept of pregnancy and birth always fascinated me. When I was in my teens, I remember meeting a woman who was heavily pregnant who asked if I wanted to feel her baby kicking. I put my hand on her tummy and felt an overwhelming connection to this little life inside of her, as he/she responded to my touch. It was such a seemingly small thing, and that mother will never know the impact that she and her baby had, but I consider it to be a very significant seed of awe and wonder that was planted in me.
As I finished school and took some time out to work and travel, I also discovered my inner feminist(!), and a real passion for the sacredness of womanhood and what it means to be a mother.
What has been the most profound moment for you in your time as a student midwife?
Wow…I don’t know if I can narrow it down to a single moment. I think an overarching theme that has been incredibly profound, is the level of vulnerability in people that I have seen.
Pregnancy, birth, and the weeks following are such a personal, intimate time, and as a midwife, I am allowed to partake in those experiences with families and that is something that always leaves me feeling so humbled.
What is the most common thing that your patients struggle with during their pregnancies?
In my experience, I have found that women often feel quite isolated in their pregnancy. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding pregnancy, which makes things even more difficult. I often find that women are frustrated that they are treated differently just because they are pregnant, as if they have a medical condition. They are growing another human, which is pretty incredible! But this doesn’t have to separate them from society or prevent them feeling like themselves.
What has being a student midwife taught you about pregnancy and motherhood?
Being a student midwife has taught me that we do NOT give women enough credit! I am in absolute awe of women’s bodies and the extraordinary ways that they work. It has opened my eyes to the sometimes harsh realities of women’s lives and how full-on life can be with a newborn. But it has also taught me about the beautiful things that happen when people come together to support each other. I have cared for many single mothers, who have been supported by sisters, friends, mothers, grandmothers, aunties and daughters, and I just think it is amazing how women show up to support one other when one of us is in need, however that may be.
How can people best support the pregnant women they know?
Just be available. Know her, and provide support where she might be struggling. She may just want to go to a bar, drink lemonade and talk about something other than her pregnancy. Just be friends. Or she may want you to take her to a midwife appointment. She may really appreciate you dropping a meal round, or picking up a parcel for her. Don’t have any expectations and don’t offer advice unless it is asked for. Encourage her to trust her maternal instincts and follow her lead.
What would you say to encourage women who are nervous about their pregnancy?
Hmm. I think I would reassure them about the amount of support that is out there. From fitness groups and pregnancy meditation, to practical parenting classes and advice. No pregnant woman needs to feel alone or unequipped. Also – it is okay to have negative feelings towards pregnancy and motherhood. I think so many women carry shame when they aren’t as excited as they think they ‘should be’.
There is an immense pressure for it to be an entirely positive experience. Pregnancy, just like any other area of life, will have a balance of good times and hard ones, and that is totally normal.