Recently, I have been struggling with and thinking about Horizontal Violence between Midwives. You can read more of my thoughts on this in Midwife Between Worlds. It is a reality that many of us deal with on a regular basis. In the midst of feeling particularly down about it, I realized that I also need to remember the many times I have been on the receiving, and giving, end of Midwife Love. The times that other midwives have lifted me up, midwives of all types and persuasions. Midwives have loved me, hugged me, made me laugh and cried with me. They have “midwifed” me on my own midwifery path. Today, I choose to focus on these moments and to savor the many instances of love I have witnessed, received and given to my midwife colleagues.
Midwife Love may sound silly or cliché, but it is the best description of how I feel right now. I am in love with my midwife-colleagues! We are such a diverse and beautiful group of people. Through midwifery, I have had the opportunity to meet folks that I otherwise never would have. And many of these people are now dear friends. I have been a preceptor to multiple student midwives and often think of the outward flowing circles of families that have been supported by these students after they complete their studies. There is a birth center across the state from me, Bloomin’ Babies, opened by a friend of mine, Patty Kandiko. She did a portion of her clinicals at the first birth center I worked in and I am so proud to have played a part in her growth as a midwife. The families there are blessed to have her and her center. I love to hear about their growth and success.
In particular, I am eternally grateful for the midwife-colleagues that I have been blessed to work alongside. They are a source of strength, humor, support and knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, we can also disagree and challenge each other….but what is love without a little challenge. I would not want to work in or with a group that does not question each other, that does not feel strong enough to discuss and debate. Being able to disagree and then come to a mutual understanding is a hallmark of love; we don’t change each other but make each other stronger. We don’t mimic each other or think that we all have to make the same choices. There is great power in our differences.
Recently, I have been remembering a Midwife Love experience at the first birth center I worked in. It was early morning, I was at the center to be in the clinic. I was in the kitchen making my (very necessary and much loved) cup of coffee. The on call midwife was there for a client in labor and the midwife who had been on call the day before was at the hospital as she had had to transfer another client. The previous midwife had had “one of those shifts”; long and tough, she had been up for 24 hours before the transfer. She returned from the hospital (after the birth and a healthy outcome) and was exhausted. The first thing that happened when she walked in was a lovely and much needed group hug. The three of us just put our arms around each other and took some breaths, it was simple and took only a few moments but was powerful. These seemingly small moments are among the ones that keep us going in the hard moments. And for these moments, I am eternally grateful. So, please let’s share some of our Midwife Love stories here…..