I believe that women are wonderfully designed to give birth so when they are supported by midwives with whom they have developed a relationship of trust then amazing births will happen. My philosophy of trust in the physiology of birth differs from the Medical model of child birth that proliferates in our health care system. The medical model believes that birth is only normal in retrospect and is fraught with potential problems that need fixing at any moment! This form of care appears to disempower women and leads to the use of phrases such as “I was not allowed” or “I had to have and induction” evidence that the women did not have any choice in the matter.
I think it is time for a new approach to childbirth, one where the woman is put firmly back where she belongs at the heart of Midwifery care! Working as I do I am able to spend time listening to women voice their hopes and dreams about their birth and together we prepare for the baby’s arrival in a way that puts her at the centre of all decisions. This system of Midwifery is known as case loading or individualised care and as an advocate I see the benefits for women as they are listened to and are supported in their choices they feel more confident and less anxious.
Here is a birth story from one of my clients that illustrates the benefits of having a private midwife.
I tried to stay out of the pool as long as possible to use the water as pain relief when I really needed it, and so when I did get in the water everything happened really quickly. Just a few pushes and at 01.20 on a Sunday morning our beautiful baby girl, Isabel Jane, was with us! Jo lifted her straight out of the water and on to my chest. It was exactly how I’d wanted it to be. The birth must have been gentle for her too – she came out in to the lovely warm water and then in to the dimly lit, warm room, with gentle music playing and lovely scents in the air, snuggled into her Mummy’s arms, with Daddy looking on close by. We left the cord to finish pulsating and she breast fed within about half an hour of being born, once we were snuggled in towels on the settee. And within 2 hours, I was tucked up in my own bed with tea and toast, with our new little girl sleeping soundly in the crib by our bed. Our little boy slept on in his bed, with just a brief disturbance when he heard the first few cries of his baby sister.
The experience to me was how births should be – a gentle, dignified experience for me, my baby and my husband, with our little boy close by, in the place where we feel most safe. A new member of the family, joining the family, in the family home. I felt like we had been able to enjoy the intimate experience in the way we wanted and that I was allowed to give birth to my baby in my way. I truly felt like “I did it”, not that it was “done to me” and that is the most empowering feeling any woman can have. Jo gave me everything I needed, without me losing ownership of the process of birthing my baby and for that I am truly grateful. When we first thought of using an independent midwife we thought it was expensive, but it was worth every single penny and there will be no question as to whether we’ll do it again if and when baby number 3 comes along!
A post script to this story I did go on to look after this client again for baby 3 and 4!