These Hands 6

I started a series, Tools Of My Trade, years ago. In looking back at it, I feel that what I did was simply the first draft. In the coming months, I will be re-visiting these tools and filling in the details, colors and meaning. This post about These Hands, is the first one of these re-imagined pieces. I also started this series as a photo essay, as a way to return to my photography roots and incorporate more of myself into this work. Prior to becoming a midwife, I was known to create art with my camera. Through the course of this path; nursing and midwifery school, raising a family and working as a midwife, my photography took a back burner. Through this process, I hope to reclaim this dormant part of myself. With the exception of this first installment (I found it quite difficult to photograph my own hands in action), these essay’s will also include photos of mine that help to represent and express my feelings for these tools. Please read on and consider going out to honor and celebrate a Midwife in your life.

These Hands


My Hands…These Hands…The Hands of a Midwife

These hands caress, stroke and sometimes cajole

These hands inspect, delve and palpate

These hands are sometimes soft and other times are hard

These hands support and elevate

These hands act as guides; to babies on their way out, to women as they become mothers

These hands repair and cultivate

With these hands, I honor and act with grace, for all the world

These are the hands of a midwife.

Midwives have traditionally been very attuned to their senses; hands, eyes, ears and heart. These are my most valuable tools and ones that I always carry with me.  One of the joys of this work, is playing with and talking to the babies in the womb. At every prenatal visit, there is time when we as midwives put our hands on the pregnant belly, this allows us to build a relationship with not only our client but the growing baby as well. We learn how they are laying in the womb, how big they are, how they are growing over time and how much amniotic fluid they are swimming in. To feel their personalities and the strength of their movements. Across the board, I have known that the families appreciate this, appreciate that someone else knows their little one and shares in their joy.

These are the hands of a midwife; connecting, supporting and empowering our clients and families. These are the primary Tools Of My Trade. Some days they physically ache from the work, some days they rejoice and some days they carry tears. Everyday they show up open and ready to serve. 

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6 thoughts on “These Hands

  • Samantha McCormick, CNM

    So beautifully said Aubre.

    And I love the part about playing with the babies in the womb. I think that’s something that’s unique to Midwives. I don’t think that OB nurses and OB doctors do that little whimsical tickling that we often do while evaluating the uterus and its occupant; or at least I’ve never observed it . And then we do what Midwives do and involve the mothers by showing them and letting them feel the head and the butt and the little feet.

    I distinctly remember and can almost feel it still. More than 20 years ago I was in that gaap between Midwifery School and being licensed to practice, preparing to take my national board exam. I wasn’t working in the OB field at the time, I was supporting myself I working as a home health care nurse.

    And I had to spend what felt like forever(it was probably only about 6 weeks), not having my hands on pregnant bellies. My hands literally ached with the absence. I so missed the tender moments playing with the little human growing and waiting to emerge.

    I was so excited to start my first job as a grown up Midwife for all kinds of reasons, but I also got to put my hands back on bellies again