Journey from Student to Midwife.

By Lian Pansino
Nov 2014

In this Summer season we hear from Lian who brings her journey from student to midwife full circle.

The time is getting near when I can finally announce with pride the words ‘I am a midwife.’ I know when that moment comes the tears will flow much the same as they did when I was first accepted to midwifery here in New Zealand! My journey to this place so far seems to have taken an eternity, having applied to study in Canada for a number of years prior to setting my sights on New Zealand. As I look to the future, I realize it’s actually an eternity that I still get to share with women and birth, a future I am looking forward to with excitement and new energy.

The final chapter of my studies was spent with Anne Sharplin, a midwife who has been entwined with women and homebirth for over 30 years. My time with Anne included the usual student midwife activities, visits with women and babies, cups of tea, the Homebirth Association’s national hui, etc. I was exposed to and gained experience with the pinard stethoscope, a midwifery tool used for auscultation of the fetal heart. She fostered my learning by providing an environment that supported physiological birth. At the same time, Anne and I found time to do activities that sustain us in midwifery practice. We enjoyed getting our hands and boots dirty as we shovelled horse ‘shit’ to feed her young garden. We foraged for Jerusalem artichokes, picked heaps of citrus, and even found ourselves in an orchard of avocadoes. These experiences were not only pleasant for my belly but also fed my interest and knowledge in other areas.

From here my journey moves away from the student life and into independent midwifery practice. After much exploration and consideration of my options I have decided to move to the West Coast and begin my midwifery career in Hokitika. This stunning and remote part of New Zealand boasts the highest home birth rate in the country, and I look forward to supporting and being involved with this remarkable birthing culture. The coast has so much to offer me, but above all else will provide incredible midwifery experience. I am so looking forward to setting down roots to foster my growth in midwifery, begin to grow my own garden, and build on the wonderful community who loves and supports me.