Why midwifery? This is often asked when I share with others what I have been pursuing the past few years. I suppose the answer is summed up as this: when you feel a calling deep within your soul, you cannot always explain or understand why, but because you are known by a God who knows your heart’s deepest dreams and desires, you respond and trust. As I reflect on my desires as a child, I never imagined this journey of life would bring me to such a sacred place of caring for new families and being the first to hold a precious new life in my hands.
My journey to midwifery
I distinctly remember as a young girl, learning about the immense poverty that was so prevalent in developing countries. I would read stories about missionaries who would leave everything they had to serve the poor. I knew from that age I wanted my life to be one of complete service to others. After doing a handful of medical mission trips, I decided I would pursue nursing as a means to serve. During my nursing studies, I had the opportunity to study in the Dominican Republic, where I was exposed to very different approaches to medicine compared to what I learned in the hospitals. As we went from home to home, I experienced medicine as a way to build deep relationships with others, realizing that taking the time to listen and to love is often more healing than any medical treatment. It was after this experience that I decided to pursue an advanced nursing degree, which I knew would equip me with the proper skills to care for others in rural areas.
Toward the end of my nursing education, I learned that some of the worst community health problems globally are within maternal and infant health. So many countries have egregious infant and maternal morbidity and mortality rates—due in part to the lack of qualified medical professionals and healthcare facilities. Women and newborns around the world are still dying in childbirth from preventable causes. I had the unique opportunity to travel to Kenya, where I saw how many women give birth, and was able to ‘catch’ my first baby. Witnessing the disparities that I read about confirmed that I was being called to serve and care for women and infants specifically through my nursing career.
The unique invitation of my vocation
Having worked in the profession for a short time now, the reasons for becoming a midwife have begun to unfold, and I have deeper insights that I only understood theoretically prior to working in this profession. 1) Birth is sacred. I have always known this, but attending births in this new role, I have lived this and it is such a gift. 2) I truly have been called to midwifery, and am privileged to participate in witnessing and guiding new lives into the world. Through this journey of walking alongside women and families, I have gained a deeper understanding of my own spiritual journey. Daily I am reminded of the simple, yet profound spiritual truths, manifested in physical and tangible ways through pregnancy, labor, birth, and the women I serve.
I anticipate joining the many midwives who have used and are continuing to use innovative means to provide access to care for all women of every race and economic status. Most importantly, through midwifery, I have been offered a unique invitation of self-giving service to women on their journey of motherhood. These women provide me the honor of walking alongside them as they grow into beautiful and strong mothers and demonstrate simple Truths of selfless love and perseverance. To me, this work is the hardest, yet greatest gift I have accepted.