A couple of years after my son was born I became increasingly interested in midwifery. Nurse-midwifery seemed like a pretty good option. That would mean nursing school, which I knew I would not enjoy. I thought of an apprenticeship… I just wasn’t really sure how to go about becoming a midwife. Ideally I wanted to be a lay midwife, or home birth midwife.
I couldn’t find a midwife that wanted an apprentice with no midwifery background. I was about to take the plunge and sign up for nursing school when I found something interesting online: Ancient Art Midwifery School, for midwifery students. This sounded right up my ally. I talked to the director and found out more about my options and the school. It seemed pretty awesome. It took me a little bit, but I was in. I signed up!
School totally blew my mind. I started learning things that made me realize midwifery has a bit of a past. The witch hunts… remember those from school? We didn’t learn who were really being targeted hung, burned at the stake, and tossed into the sea – at least I didn’t. The church, the government, whoever’s agenda this was were after the healers. The midwives, the medicine men and women, the herbalists, and the naturopaths were all targeted. Apparently healing with nature is magic, devil worshiping sorcery. I found this interesting. My mom is a healer and I, of course, picked a career path full of this sort of controversy.
I learned a lot about birth before I started studying the midwifery part of it all. Everything I was learning made me realize that birth is safe for normal healthy women. Women are literally made to birth. I began to trust birth, and I began to understand why I felt so weird when I was in the hospital laboring with my first born (for story see A Typical Birth).
You see Birth has some secrets. I had started to see that when you incorporate birth’s plan into your plan then you can come out of birth as proud and healthy as a mother doe, which I do not feel like happened to me after my 1st born. I felt humiliated, hurt, and a little sad. I couldn’t even stand or pee by myself afterward. I would have felt much better had I known, or at least had felt like I could have, asked for some privacy during the labor. Immediately after arriving at the hospital I had an IV hooked up to my arm and a fetal monitor strapped around my big contracting belly. I probably would have been able to poop (because I needed to) if I would have just had a little privacy to get myself settled into labor while in the hospital’s labor and delivery room, but I didn’t and I didn’t even know I needed it. I started to realize that midwifery is a very powerful tool for a better birth experience. Midwives give women the option to plan for birth’s secrets 1 and 2: Privacy and safety. Home birth allows women the comfort of their own space, and the comfort of a professional present to manage, guide, and assist the delivery. The more I learned about birth the more midwifery made sense to me, especially when I looked back on my hospital experience. Midwifery seemed to be the answer to all of the negative aspects of my labor and birth experience in the hospital. I was pumped. I couldn’t wait to be a midwife and guide and help women feel more comfortable in birth than they would in the hospital, but little did I know, there was more. I was about to go even deeper, and learn even more about secrecy, privacy, midwifery and how I truly feel about birth as a woman.