I’ve discovered this year that midwives really do practice between two worlds. Our schooling is structured within a particular culture, one of teachings passed on by grandmothers of the profession but also filled with rigorous scientific method and evidence-based practice.
We speak midwifery to our clients but speak traditional obstetrics when we consult.
We fiercely protect our clients from harm and are sometimes bullied for holding their space sacred.
We can use a pinnard to listen to a baby’s heart rate between contractions and can assist in surgery.
This is what I think the third year of the midwifery program is about: shapeshifting between two worlds.
We spend an entire eight months jumping from one interprofessional placement to the next. I spent time with ultrasound technicians, lactation consultants, nurses, obstetricians, and social workers. I learned about other professions’ scopes of practice and how we can work together as a part of the same team. I respect what they do and hope that our interactions have contributed positively to the midwifery image.
Some people might wonder: why don’t other professions do this? Isn’t this important? Shouldn’t they shadow us? I would argue that of course, it is but it’s more important for midwives, we don’t exist in a vacuum. We need to learn how to situate ourselves within these two worlds: midwifery and obstetrics. We need to learn how to survive tough conversations with people that don’t believe we’re smart enough and how to appropriately and respectfully challenge differences of opinion. We need to learn how to be well-rounded midwives, knowing what interventions and technologies are available but also when they are appropriate. This year is also about learning what aspects of midwifery are important to you and reminds you why you are so excited to start midwifery practice again in the summer.
Going into senior year, we might need to learn how to trust birth again. We may need to reinvigorate our passion after feeling alone and defenceless in the face of intense opinions and scrutiny of midwives and homebirth. We need to be reminded that midwives are the answer to gaps in obstetric care and that we make a difference and that we are extremely lucky to do the work that we do.
Going into senior year, we should also know that we’re ready.