Many Moons ago, I started this series all about the Pearls of Practice that I have learned on my midwifery journey. I have decided to share them here, I hope that they can lend support and provide encouragement for others on this path. Stay tuned in the coming months for more of the Pearls I have gathered and please enjoy these first two.
As I started on this journey, many thoughts and questions were running through my mind; excitement, anxiety, joy, apprehension. Will I be able to remember all that I have learned in these last few years of training? Am I truly ready for this imposing duty? As a new practitioner it is all too easy to become overwhelmed with the technical details of the work. All the learned information from your studies can be swimming inside your head, swirling around the edges, overfilling your brain. It is easy to lose sight of the reason we have chosen this profession. The reason we sacrificed all the time and energy, staying up late, drinking too much coffee and missing our own families to be “with woman”. To have the honor and responsibility of supporting, nurturing and guiding our clients through life’s stages. The experiences and thoughts documented here in this work have been hard fought and I share them to help support others on the path. Here are my final thoughts, distilled down and presented with love.
One of the first things I learned, which is one of the most simplistically beautiful things, I learned from my first few clients in labor. It seems so obvious, yet it is so easy to lose sight of in the moments. As I sat with these amazing folks through their labors, I often found myself guiding them to breathe. To open and relax, to take long, slow deep breaths. To focus on that place that allows the oxygen to flow through them and give them strength to move forward, to calm and to soothe. At some point, I realized that I also needed to follow my own breath, to find my own strength and focus. This of course, is Pearl #1; Remember to Breathe. In all the moments in which we are called to be present; to labor sit another hour, to manage a complication, to educate and to guide, we must be present and focused. So, in the moments, always allow yourself to focus and breathe and you will be a better care provider.
It is also crucial to remember that I learned this initial lesson from the clients and families I work with. We, as midwives, have trained to serve and care for these women and to guide them through this process. However, we must always be open to the lessons that they have to teach us. Which leads me to Pearl #2; Listen to Your Clients and Families. They are full of knowledge. I am continually learning new insights from my clients, new ways to look at a problem, new questions to follow up on. No one will know your client better than her; no one else will have the same insight into her life and body. I am by no means the first to say it, but it bears repeating; always, always listen to the women.
Have you discovered these Pearls for yourself? How do you incorporate them into your care?
Image credit Briony Hope Photography