At 32 years old I became a midwife. My children were that much older that I could study seriously and begin the journey that was I felt I was destined to do.
I had trained for 3 years as a nurse but could not wait for my midwifery module and that was at the start of our third year of training. I had wanted to be a midwife since I was knee high to a grass hopper and used to bandage the "Lucky" cat and "Susie" dog head to foot in torn up strips of sheet that my mum made for me. Both pets seemed to have this innate sense that one day their mummification would be put to good use, they would lay there lovingly and let me test out all the different types of bandaging that I had discovered in the nursing text book I had got from the library.
Every year "Father Christmas" would have to bring me a new nursing outfit and nursing kit in which to check heart rates, temperatures and give injections to my dolls, all in preparation for the day that I would proudly enter to doors of the nursing and midwifery schools.
This was my journey and I would not describe it as a job, to me, it is a passion that grew over the years. As the years turned into decades, this burning passion just grew and grew and eventually when I did start my midwifery training I felt that I had been at it all my life. Studying for midwifery came easy for me, unlike school, this course was the only pathway I have wanted to do and I fell into it with an open heart and open hands.
The first time I palpated an abdomen and felt the miracle of life moving beneath the sensitivity of my hands was remarkable, the strength of women who labour stoically through many hours of pain that she will never experience until her next birth amazed and humbled me.
To witness the birth of a soul coming into the world is a tremendous privilege and the responsibility that goes along with being the midwife chosen by the woman and her whanau. The tears of joy and laughter, the sighs of relief amidst the cries of the newborn wet and slippery, the intense pain now forgotten as the baby lays on its mothers abdomen. The transfiguration of the mother who absolutely bathes in the joy of her achievement as she reaches down for her baby for the first time, counting each finger and toe in turn, all makes it worth it.
I try to keep in mind the following quote:
"You are a midwife, assisting at someone else’s birth. Do good without show or fuss. Facilitate what is happening rather than what you think ought to be happening. If you must take the lead, lead so that the mother is helped, yet still free and in charge. When the baby is born, the mother will rightly say: “We did it ourselves!” - From The Tao Te Ching