“Are you going to have any more?” This is the question that is often hurled at me by random members of the public, who clearly can’t see the look on my face, as I try to navigate the supermarket with the double pushchair and my eldest steering the trolley. It would appear that going outside, anywhere, with your children seems to make you fair game for anyone to offer advice and ask you extremely personal questions about your life choices.
“But you always wanted 4,” say friends and family. Yes, yes I did. When I was young and deluded, when I’d never had stitches in intimate parts of me and sneezing didn’t come with a risk of leaks. Now I am older (geriatric I believe, in birthing terms), wiser, poorer, exhausted and completely contented with my lot.
“Is it the thought of another pregnancy and birth?” is usually the next question. These people are persistent, I’ll give them that.
Absolutely not! Alarmingly I really enjoyed all of my pregnancies and birth experiences. I must have done, or I wouldn’t have done it three times. The first birth was a bit daunting and insanely long, but by the third one I was a pro. I popped in and saw the midwives first thing in the morning, after my labour was induced by a particularly exciting episode of Postman Pat, and they sent me for a walk.
I did the shopping in Sainsbury’s with my mum, got everything ready for my husband’s impending 39th birthday, popped back to the midwives and had baby number three by 4pm, just in time for tea.
I was offered the opportunity to go home later that afternoon, but I politely and firmly declined. The opportunity for a night in a warm, tidy, quiet room with my baby and in the company of amazing midwives, was too good to miss. If I’d gone home I would have been on bath and bedtime duties for sure!
I loved being pregnant. It was such as special and long awaited event, made all the more special by battles with infertility and loss, that I did my best to enjoy it as much as I could. Every little kick, every sleepless night, every time I couldn’t touch my toes was heavenly. I know that I am extremely lucky to have had three happy, healthy pregnancies and births and I know that not all mums have such an easy ride, but I hope that they do have the same positive experiences of the support from this amazing group of professionals.
The thing that made my experiences of pregnancy and birth so special was the team of midwives and medical staff I had around me. Their support and advice and complete honesty (even when the truth was painful… literally), was exactly what I needed and probably what I still need.
These are my top 5 reasons why I miss my midwives:
- Faith and Trust: Growing a baby and bringing them safely into the big wide world is a daunting task for a mum. Your hormones are all over the place, you feel completely out of control of your body and mind and people delight in telling you their horrific birth stories, which always end in forceps deliveries and babies with misshapen heads! (Why?) However, my midwife always had faith in me and my abilities to do these tasks just fine. And I had complete faith in her to do her job. I placed mine and my baby’s life in her capable hands and I trusted her implicitly.
- They always made time for me: Regardless of the time, day or night I knew that I had a member of that team on the end of the phone. My appointments with my midwives were never rushed, they may have been a little late, but that’s because they also made time for all those other mums and babies. Not once did I feel like I was wasting their time, asking silly questions or being over anxious, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
- Their support: My midwives have supported me and my newborns through every decision I’ve made without judgement. From birth choices, to breast feeding and bottle feeding, they were behind me 100%. They also supported me through an ectopic pregnancy and loss with utter compassion and care.
- Their humour: If you have to walk into a room and tell a woman that you have to ‘examine’ her lady parts again! If you have to say phrases like “open your legs and push like you’re doing the biggest poo of your life!” a sense of humour is key! I know that in times of stress and angst, your sense of humour as a midwife is what gets you through. I know it got me through.
- Their amazing ability to keep calm and carry on: Yeah, yeah, there is a small human fighting of get out of you. Yes, your eyes are bulging out of your head… oh and this bit might ‘sting a little’ so just pant! How midwives keep calm in these situations is beyond me. But they do, day in and day out. Regardless of how much they know (that you don’t), regardless of how exhausted and overworked they are, they remain calm and collected…until they leave the room!
My midwives have been at my side at some of the biggest, life changing events of my life. They were there the first time I heard my babies heartbeats and the first time I held my children in my arms. That is something remarkable and extremely special.
I propose a new team of health professionals, who just visit mums forever, who make them laugh, who support them through tough times and who tell them that they are “doing alright!” Do you think there would be funding for such a team?
We don’t take enough time in our busy lives to be grateful for the help and support we receive from others, so I hope that this post says a big ‘thank you’ to all midwives and medical staff, who support us mums through those life changing times.
All of this talk of talented midwives has made me a bit nostalgic. It almost makes it worth going for baby number 4… I said almost!
Sarah. (Mum of three). XXX
***NOTE*** I know that there are some phenomenal male midwives and I apologise for the title, it just fitted. If you were my midwife, I’d miss you too!