Friday, October 26, 2012

Me, Midwife

Being a midwife means I get to enter the most sacred of places.

A couple’s life.

They seek out a medical caregiver. Someone trained to do prenatal care and handle complications, should they arise. But in the process of being that hired, skilled professional, I am going to hear things no one else hears. They are going to discuss details with me that they wouldn’t mention to anyone else.

Topics that include bodily fluids and their sex life.

And then, when it’s time for the birth, I get to go with them into their bedroom.

I know I’m not the only midwife who has sat at the end of the bed and wondered at the intimacy of this.

I sit there in the soft glow of the bedside lamp, and rub the woman’s feet. I watch the husband lie curled up next to his wife, putting counter pressure on her back during contractions.

And she moans.

And my gaze wanders to the wedding pictures on the wall over the bed.

And I consider that they are about to give birth to their baby in the same place he or she was conceived.

Only this time, I get to be there.

I am there when she screams. I am there when she sobs. I am there when they both laugh and cry in relief when their baby comes exploding out of her body and they kiss and embrace their child together.

I am the keeper of her secrets, the words she may have let slip in her anguish. I am the keeper of his secret, that he is not the tough guy the rest of the world thinks he is.

I wrap up the naked child in a blanket and teach the new mother how to nurse. I wrap up the bloody sheets and remove the placenta while the parents count fingers and toes and call relatives with the happy news.

I make the family comfortable in their warm nest, and then I go out into the dark alone.

This is what it means, to be a midwife.

It means I will share a couple’s intimacy for a moment.

And then walk away, and let them keep it.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Roxanne,
    That's beautiful! Thanks for writing. How is Africa clinic coming along? -Abigail Stern

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  2. Sensitivity deluxe. Beautiful words. I was right there with you.

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  3. Awesome post Roxanne. You have a way with words.

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  4. A very touching story. That young couple will never forget your kindness either.

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