Reflections on Being a Home Birth Midwife

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It’s been about 1 year and 10 months since I was licensed as a home birth midwife. I am finally settling into a rhythm of providing midwifery care and managing my small independent practice. I am finally recovering physically and emotionally from a busy three-year apprenticeship. And I recently asked myself why am I doing this? I have enjoyed each family that has trusted me with one the most precious times in their lives. I have felt accomplished in finally becoming a midwife. I have loved contributing financially to our family. I have felt proud to be self-employed. But why have I chosen a profession that gives me sleep deprivation? Why have I chosen a profession where my phone is a vital appendage to my body? Why have I chosen a professions that upends and puts on hold my personal life for an undetermined amount of time at a moments notice to answer frantic calls from clients or go to a birth? Why have I chosen a profession that is mostly not accepted by the community at large and medical colleagues as valid or safe? Why have I chosen a profession that brings on the tremendous stress of monitoring a person and fetus, then a newborn and postpartum person for health and well-being? Why have I chosen a profession where my connection with my clients is so deep and forever, yet I can only sustainably hold them and stay close for about a year? Did I mention the tremendous emotional and physical stress midwifery brings?

This is why…

Yesterday, I attended the birth of a client. There was a moment about 2 minutes after her baby was born that she looked at her baby and cried. She cried, because her labor was so hard. She cried, because she was in awe that she was finally holding her new baby. She cried, because she gave birth in water just like she wanted. She cried, because she was overwhelmed with love for this new being. She cried because she was so immensely happy.

This is why I am a home birth midwife.

I tear up just thinking about her face at that exact moment. Imagine the love her baby was feeling at that moment. Imagine the love the mom was feeling at that moment. It was perfect. Today, I feel immense gratitude that I get to help people and babies feel this moment. And this moment may not come right at birth. This moment may be prenatally when the pregnant person hears their baby’s heartbeat for the first time. This moment may be in labor when the pregnant person realizes their birth is not going to look like what they imagined but know they will be loved and supported throughout. This moment may be during the postpartum period when they feel empowered to parent an infant. It doesn’t matter when it happens, but it happens…each and every time, with each and every client.

This is why I am a home birth midwife.