A midwife and her tribe.
Midwife as the word signifies means with women. The strangest fact remain that though this would have been of of the oldest professions since the advent of time it is also something that remains in the bottom of the abyss today in India.
We also live in an age and time where PAIN seems to be most horrific four-letter word and we circumvent our lives in avoiding it hence the mere word natural seems to frighten today’s modern woman, and rightfully so with increasing invasion of technology. Neither do we share women’s body wisdom ,nor do we listen to powerful birth stories or obtain women led support from our communities when it comes to bearing forth our babies.
And where does a midwife fit in?
A trained independent midwife brings evidence-based knowledge, compassion and empathy to a woman when she needs it the most. A midwife simply welcomes pregnant women as individuals and are never reduced to the status of patients. Birth is seen as a social physiological event rather than a pathological one. Contrary to what most people imagine giving birth is not something we do to our bodies, it is what our bodies do unto us .There is a rhythm and yes! there is definitely pain and discomfort and tough terrains to navigate but there is a wonderful dance that women go into once labor begins which is the dance of labor where they move , kneel ,walk , crawl , breathe and moan instinctively through it.And we just need to let them get on with it.
And this is precisely what a true midwife does she respects the woman’s cadence. The freedom to position how she would like it, letting her choose the time that she wants giving birth to her child at her own pace and respect each individual’s experience.
One woman for example. may just want to be curled up in the corner and another may want to be outside on the porch and they are all fine.
Contrary to common perception a midwife also watches out for the woman listens to her and her baby clinically ,records her baby’s position, baby’s hearts rate and works on a highly scientific level. She truly keeps the mother baby dyad safe as what is advocated in the midwifery model -One to one care which in reality translates on picking up on any deviations from normalcy faster than a regular push cart model of care would. She would work actively on movement and positions that would help to bring the baby lower, offer comfort, breathe with her and hold her space. There is often a palpable exchange of strength, sweat and toil between a midwife and the women she would be caring for and it’s is often hard to quantify this in words as it is a lived-in experience and only women who have been truly cared for by a midwife would be able to relive it. And should be there any complications she will not hesitate to transfer to tertiary care as well as her primary goal would be to keep both mother and baby safe and well.
In many ways a midwife is not necessarily against interventions but simply views that vast majority of births that occur to healthy women with healthy pregnancies may not need it.
Another wonderful trait of a true midwife is to welcome those who are different nothing is really alien to her, she may observe and document but will always be open minded.
With a midwife, birth will always be about women rather than with any individual least of all her.
A midwife is a warrior , A Braveheart. Her life will always be about resistance and fights and that’s precisely what will continue to bring women to her .
Happy midwives’ day !
Ps: This is a guest blog by Priyanka Idicula. She is a Certified Professional Midwife and the Co-founder of BirthVillage – The Natural Birthing Centre.