Voice of a mother: dear student midwife
Dear student midwife... You may not remember me, but I will never forget you.
I found my first midwife appointments intimidating. Our community midwives were lovely, but when you see a different one every single time, it’s hard to feel... a connection. I needed a connection.
Then there was you dear student midwife. You arrived at one of our appointments and looked at me with bright enthusiastic eyes. You really LOOKED at me. You greeted me like we were meeting in the pub. Two women, not pregnant lady and keeper of the information. You looked at my husband, you smiled at him and chatted to him. You asked us if we’d be one of your case studies. ‘Of course!’ we said.
You gave us your number so we could update you. That made me feel like I would be in your thoughts. Over the course of months, you made us feel like we were the only people in the whole world having a baby and we were so special. I felt held.
Then finally our birthing day arrived. ‘I so hope she’s there,’ I whispered between contractions in the car to the maternity unit. And there you were. With your bright eyes, and your beaming smile and your softness and your friendliness and we were just friends in a pub. And it was lovely. You were mine. My midwife. My familiar face. My continuous carer throughout. You were walking our journey with us and you would be there to the end. I was excited to share our moment with you.
You and your colleague were more than I could ever have hoped for. You heard all our wishes and you sat with us, watching respectfully, patiently, lovingly. I felt held. I went into myself and I connected with my body, because you made me feel safe to do so. Because I trusted you, and believed you trusted me, I allowed myself to trust my birthing process and just work my labour. Sometimes I opened my eyes and looked into the room and made eye contact with you, and I heard your colleague whispering words of gentle awe and I felt held. WE felt held.
In our first moments as parents, you told me how amazing I had been, how strong I was and I felt incredible. Just before you said goodbye, you gave our son his first ‘skin-side’ gift. I couldn’t find the words to tell you what you’d meant to us. I couldn’t find any words, they all seemed so... pithy. You may not remember us, but I will never forget you. We talk about you sometimes, my son and I. ‘Mummy, this is my special bunny from the lady at my birth’, ‘yes babe, it’s from the lady who taught me the power of woman just “being” with woman.’ Thank you for being the midwife you are, I hope you have some idea of how much it meant and what a gift you are.
Siobhán Ridley is a pregnancy and birth coach in Norfolk and blogs on her website yourtinyhuman.com.