Gather Your Pearls, The Sixth Pearl is all about Community.
As the single drop of water needs other drops to add in strength, so do midwives. I had struggled with how to phrase this next pearl, wanting it sound just right, but not have it be too corny. Finally, after much debate, I just decided on a very well-known phrase. Here it is, The Sixth Pearl; It Takes a Village. I know, I know it is a cliche. However, it is a definite truth and many cliches are born from the truth. One of my mentors has a saying, “This is not the midwife show.” Meaning that what we do is about so much more than ourselves. It is easy to get caught up in the feeling that the midwife is the star of the show. As discussed earlier, in the Fourth Pearls of Practice midwives can easily be placed on that pedestal. As both a new and seasoned midwife, I would have been lost without the entire village. This community includes midwives, nurses, medical assistants, administrative staff, lactation consultants, doulas, educators, consulting physicians and so many more.
The Village that work alongside you;
Clinic days are busy. My practice, of course, has prenatal exams, but also well woman exams, postpartum visits, contraception care and planning, and preconception visits, to name just a few. The variety is one of the many things I love about my job. It is never boring. Working in a good clinic, one that functions as a highly productive team is a blessing. Everyone must keep up their duties and help each other out. In our clinic, we always have at least one midwife, many times two, a registered nurse, a medical assistant and our administrative team. I hesitate to use the term “administrative assistant” as it comes nowhere close to describing their duties. Really, they are more like the quarterback, keeping us all in line, on schedule and on task. They are partly responsible for the overall atmosphere and creating a welcoming and warm environment to greet clients as they enter our space. The RN and medical assistant are also equally important, directing us midwives where to go next, helping with education, answering questions and assisting with procedures. Then there is our billing department. Without them, we could not even exist. Basically, we could not function without each staff member. Working in the community, to me, is wonderful. It leads to an intensely intimate experience. It also means that the team is even more crucial. At a birth, the clinical responsibility lies entirely upon the midwife and the nurse. We work together, equally as a unit, functioning as a whole. As a midwife, I need all the support of this village that surrounds me, and would not be able to do my work without them.
The Village we serve;
Additionally, as a hallmark of midwifery care, the family is a central part of this village. Midwifery care is educationally intensive for the family and they are trusted to make true informed decisions about their care. The pregnant person is integral to the team, and an equal with all the members. It is crucial for us to assist them in cultivating their own power. This happens along every step of the way; as she works with the front desk member on classes, speaks with the nurse about their concerns and questions and builds a relationship with the midwives. They may reach out to her community to find a doula, who will also support them through this process. All of these interactions are helping our families to build confidence and strength. Furthermore, she is learning that she is not alone, that she has a village of support persons to surround her. For all these reasons, we must embrace our team and foster the community around us. In this way, it truly does Take A Village to support our families as they grow and evolve. When we, as midwives with our village around us, make this commitment to foster and empower our clients a step has been taken to grow and empower communities. Communities that will foster and grow empowered children who will in turn create a safe, open and loving culture. At least, this is the hope and what many of us strive towards.
Image credit Monet Nicole