Why a Midwife?

Why a midwife?

Maybe you’ve been asked this question by family members or friends. You may find that your decision to see a midwife and have an out-of-hospital birth has been questioned, maybe even challenged, as the picture of childbirth can often be painted as a painful, antiseptic hospital experience. The midwifery model of care which affirms the power and strength of women is the norm in most of the developed world and is what I believe to be a large part of the future of women’s health. As we continue to address major gaps in maternal and newborn health outcomes across the world, midwives remain a large part of the solution. My understanding of the work a midwife does has grown immensely over the recent years, and I am excited to share the knowledge I’ve obtained with you, so that when you are asked the questions, “What is a midwife?” and “Why you have chosen one?” you can confidently answer those questions.

Some people think that midwives only attend births or care for newborns. Some think they only do home births. Thankfully, awareness about midwifery in the United States is growing, and I am so happy to spread the good word! The word “midwife” means “with woman.” This is a perfect job description because midwives spend a great amount of their time working with women and birthing people. Some midwives find their identity lies within that magical moment of “catching” babies; whereas others focus their careers on providing care for women in other ways, such as outpatient-based women’s healthcare (infertility, menopausal care, lactation etc.) or serving as educators. You’ll find midwives everywhere–in the hospital, in the clinic, and providing care in the home and at birth centers like MBC! Midwives watch women grow into adolescence, care for them through motherhood, and can provide care through menopause as well.

Midwives are committed to listening, comforting, educating and supporting as they walk alongside women. As I learned more and more about the great work of midwives, I began to reconnect with my long-lived desire to work with and care for women, as it has always been a great desire of my heart to work alongside women, empower and support them and basically be “with woman”. After many years of working with a male-dominated population at the VA medical center and finding great value in that, I still felt unfulfilled and knew that I needed to listen to my heart. I finally allowed my spirit to guide me, as I applied for the midwifery program at Bethel. I was accepted and now I am on my journey towards becoming a midwife! The thought fills my heart and gives me great purpose.

Toni Estis is an MBC Clinic Nurse and Birth Assistant and is currently pursuing her dream to become a midwife. She loves answering the question “Why a midwife?” to anyone who asks. 

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