Why Midwifery Care Matters

It was dark by the time I got home from my prenatal appointment yesterday. My car was covered in a slushy, messy, frozen coating of snow and ice from driving three hours in a not-so-lovely storm. I had spent the previous night at my Mom's house in Athabasca so that I wouldn't have to make a round-trip from Fort McMurray to Plamondon for my appointment. When you're in your third trimester, a six hour trip in a car makes for a looooong day - no matter how many breaks you take - so I like to split it up when I can.

My kids missed me terribly and squealed with delight when I walked in the door. It was my husband's last day off and he was cooking up a storm in the kitchen: preparing to serve up some slow-cooker meatballs. I really am so very lucky to have such an amazing partner in life.

I missed them, too. But I was home and all was well.

When I first made the decision to apply for midwifery care at the beginning of my third pregnancy, I did it with a very small amount of hope that I would actually be accepted and thought that if I should get so lucky, I would worry about the logistics then.

You see, there are no midwives in the town I live in. That's right! ZERO midwives...even though we have well over 100 babies born per month in our one tiny hospital.

Being lucky enough to be accepted into a midwifery practice for this baby also meant, for me, that I would not be birthing my baby in my home town. It meant that I would be travelling a total of six hours round trip for every.single.appointment. It meant that I would have to pack up my family and my life in the last couple weeks of my pregnancy. It meant all of that but I was still absolutely OK with it - and I wouldn't be the first mom to do it either!

So here I am now, in the homestretch of my pregnancy and with all the travelling I've been doing lately, it seems I've had a lot of time to think. My most recent trip had me thinking hard about why midwifery care was so important to me and why I was making all these sacrifices just to have the experience I've been longing for since the birth of my first child five years ago.

It was this trip that had me realize that it's not just the birth "experience" that matters. My midwife and I had a great conversation about birth plans and birth stories and she reminded me that the "experience" really lies within the four walls of my own mind. This is something I know well and often tell the moms I converse with work in my work as a doula. But to hear someone say it back to me was exactly what I needed.

I realized that having a midwife is not just about having a home birth. It's not just about having a "natural" birth (whatever that really means these days). The most beneficial part I'm realizing as a newbie mom to the midwifery model of care is that responsibility for whatever kind of birth you want, is in YOUR hands. Midwives encourage moms to research and make truly informed decisions. They encourage moms to THINK about their bodies, their births and their babies....something I'm noticing is becoming less of a thing these days and I don't know why.

Don't get me wrong: I trust and respect doctors just as much as the next guy but what I will never understand is the countless number of moms who just "go with the flow" naively throughout their entire pregnancies. Never asking questions. Never wondering WHY induction and cesarean rates are so high. Never allowing themselves to have a voice during a time in their life that is so incredibly transformational. Just accepting the status quo as is.

Midwives change that!

They ask YOU why...
They ask you how YOU feel...
They ask what YOU want to do...
Because they know it matters.

When a woman is tasked with having to make decisions for herself...she educates herself. I truly believe that no matter what kind of birth a mother has - natural, vaginal, med-free, epidural, induced, cesarean, whatever - a few appointments with a midwife will give them the confidence in themselves to know WHY they are experiencing what they are experiencing. They will then take ownership of those experiences and they will transform into motherhood with the kind of rock-solid confidence and take-no-shit attitude that so many mamas are lacking these days (my past-self included).

THIS is why midwifery care matters.

And without even discussing the cost-saving a midwife provides, THIS is why women (and men) around the world need to keep pressuring our goverments to keep midwifery care alive.

If you agree, please feel free to share!

Peace & Health,

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