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One of the first things I did after getting a positive
pregnancy test—after freaking out and calling my husband—was to make an
appointment with a nearby midwifery practice. Though I didn't know much about midwives, a friend had used them during her pregnancy and delivery and had loved
Using midwives turned out to be the best thing I could do for my pregnancies
and deliveries. Here are seven reasons I loved my midwives.
Each time I visited the certified nurse-midwives, my first task was to weigh myself and enter the
information in my chart. Similarly, they had me swab my own lady parts for the
Group B strep test. Being in charge of these simple chores made me feel like I
was an active participant in my own care, and it was surprisingly empowering.
2. They were tactful.
Though I was 37 during my
second pregnancy, my midwives never uttered that terrible phrase every older
mother dreads: advanced maternal age.
They helped us feel like we had a semblance of control during a very unpredictable time.
3. My midwives viewed my mental health as a priority.
My midwives supported my difficult decision to continue taking antidepressants
throughout both of my pregnancies. Taking meds while pregnant and breastfeeding
was something I struggled with mightily, and my midwives encouraged me to drop
the guilt. "We might not know exactly what a mom taking antidepressants does to
a developing baby," one of them gently said to me, "but we do know that having
a depressed mom can be harmful."
4. They helped us build community.
through my pregnancy, our midwives gave us the choice of continuing to come to
our regular appointments or switching over to their innovative group care
model. We chose the group care route, where our birth education and
appointments took place with several other couples whose babies were due the
same month as ours. Together, we sat and watched the slightly terrifying birth
videos, learned about options for pain relief and broached the specters of
postpartum depression and postpartum sex. Attending the groups helped normalize all the questions
and concerns that I had, while also providing a built in community of new
parents. I'm still good friends with one of the other moms from the group,
seven years later.
5. They gave us choices.
When one of the midwives
discovered that my amniotic fluids were leaking several days after my due date,
she gave us a number of choices ranging from taking castor oil at home to
heading straight to the hospital to be induced. No matter what was going on,
the midwives always stayed calm and offered us a menu of options. In turn, this
helped us feel like we had a semblance of control during a very unpredictable
6. But we always felt safe.
The midwives, who were
all certified nurse-midwives, delivered at a local hospital and offered a layer
of safety in the event that a mom or baby needed medical intervention. It truly
was the best of both worlds—I got supportive, low-intervention care by the
midwives, while also having access to great medical care if we needed it.
7. The midwives didn't view birth—even when things
got complicated—as a medical emergency.
If my son's birth hadn't been assisted
by midwives, I almost certainly would've ended up with a C-section. Despite the
fact that I pushed for 3 ½ hours with my son, my amazing midwife,
Jen, always believed I was capable of delivering him. When I started crying, "I
can't do this," after a few excruciating hours of pushing, she reminded me, "Lynn, you're
the only one who can do this."