Growing up, I changed my mind about what I wanted to be about every day, and sometimes twice. Some days I wanted to be a ballerina, a professional horseback rider, a veterinarian, a teacher, a therapist, or even a kitten cuddle specialist (yes, to my 8 year old self, that would have been an awesome job creation just for me). I had many professions that I felt I would be good at, or that I would enjoy doing, but I couldn’t seem to find my “calling”.
Then one day when I was probably 15 years old, I was watching TV after school when “A Baby Story” came on. I was immediately interested in watching these women go through their journeys of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I started setting our VHS player (now I’m dating myself here) to record these shows on days when I wouldn’t be home in time to see the upcoming episode. I think my mom became seriously concerned at this point that her teenager was so fascinated by pregnancy and birth! But for me, it wasn’t the baby itself or even one day becoming a mother that so interested me; it was the process of everything. The way God could join the egg and sperm to somehow create a human being that would grow and mature as if by magic within its mother’s womb.
As I watched more and more of these episodes, I started becoming cynical and questing the birthing process that I felt the mom was pushed into each time. It seemed as though once the mom got to the hospital, the same things would happen every time: upon admission receives an IV, strapped to the bed with monitors and wires, no food and only ice chips allowed, epidural for pain relief (because she’s been forced to stay in bed for hours!), prolonged pushing while nurses count loudly in her face, and ending with a vacuum/forceps/episiotomy/c-section for delivery. I started wondering why it had to be so medical, why couldn’t the mom be left alone to labor with her husband, why did it seem so…..orchestrated?
Then an episode aired that completely blew my mind and changed me forever.....the parents were going to have a doula and a midwife with them for their natural birth at home. Watching the mom labor and birth her baby at home, with no unnecessary interventions, no drugs, no one bossing her around…..just following her instincts and birthing her baby while the husband, doula and midwife surrounded her with loving encouragement. It was as if a light bulb went off over my head. This was what I was being called to do!!
The years have gone by and I’ve spent over half of my life in love with pregnancy and birth. I became a doula, rather than a midwife, when I was 20 years old because I thought that only “grandmas” were midwives and it was something I’d have to wait to do until I was done having children and they were grown. I enjoyed working as a doula for 8 years, but along the way, my plan changed. Instead of continuing to work as a doula and waiting until I was older to become a midwife, the birth of my first child at a birth center encouraged me to not wait to become a Midwife. I so loved my out-of-hospital birth experience, that I wanted to be able to offer that same experience to other women who were looking for a different way than the “norm” our society now considers birthing in the hospital to be.
With the help and sacrifices of my husband and children, I was able to put myself through the National College of Midwifery’s program and graduated in early 2013 with honors. It was a difficult 5 years of my life studying to be a Midwife since I had to juggle so many different hats: I was a mother of 2 young children, wife, doula, college student, apprentice to 5 midwives, etc. I thought about quitting a couple times when it got really hard, but I had amazing people to lean on and God had put a passion for midwifery in my heart that couldn’t be denied. I feel truly blessed that each and every day I get to wake up to my beautiful family, and then go help others create theirs.