Thanks to my midwife.
By Charlotte Cummings
Things I appreciated about you…
- The considered way you use language. I so appreciated your awareness of the power of your words to shape my feelings and thoughts, and my experience of pregnancy, birth and motherhood. The beautifully cautious way you framed whatever was going on kept me feeling positive and engaged throughout my journey and was especially helpful in the hard moments. When we were going against the ‘norm,’ the way you spoke about decisions kept me in a position of power and helped me maintain that what was right for me was right.
- Your reflectivity. I loved that you often came back to me about something we had discussed or an issue I had, having thought about it further. You gave me the precious gift of space in your thoughts – something I don’t take for granted. The care I received was enriched by this, and your thoroughness allowed me to relax and trust deeply at each junction.
- Your passion for resources and information. Your interest in gathering and sharing information was so clear and the effort you put into this meant I could form my own stance with the many decisions with which I was faced. The way you answered my questions by providing resources helped me feel really well equipped and confident.
- Your commitment to evidence. Your perspectives are so incredibly well informed, and research based, and this allowed me to really respect and trust the knowledge you hold. Alongside this, you so easily balanced your trust in a mother’s intuitive knowledge, and your respect for the evidence of experience. That’s no mean feat!
- Your gentle way with Jude. Your manner with our precious boy was so lovely to watch. I always felt like he was being so tenderly looked after when you were interacting with him. You meet so many babies, but your genuine care, interest and love was so apparent.
- When you said, “You’re always decent.” When you visited on the Monday after Jude was born, I was lying in bed in my knickers, un-showered, and called out to you “Come in, but I’m not decent.” Your response really stuck with me and has helped me feel like I’m enough just as I am, in all my filthy motherhood glory!
- The way you ‘tucked in’ our family. The night Jude was born, you helped us put him to bed, and farewelled us as we got into bed. It was incredibly precious to me that your care for us was so thorough, and you journeyed with us to the very last moment of our process that night. It was so nice to feel so beautifully ‘mothered’ myself, in my first hours as a mother.
- The witness of your diligence around consumer decisions. Your personal commitment to walking gently on this earth shone through subtly but strongly and has been a real ‘take away’ for me from crossing paths with you. Particularly when bombarded with purchasing pressure as a new parent, having you around helped keep lots of things in perspective.
- Your ability to ‘get medical.’ I loved that, all of a sudden, when something was ‘going down’ you totally had the ability to switch into a really clinical mode. You keep that part of your role appropriately tucked away a lot of the time, but it gave me such confidence knowing that you were so strong in that area when the circumstances warranted this.
- The beautiful gift of the images of us as a family. I am so amazed that you that you would offer your time and talent to us with this. It’s not often that the person behind the lens is part of the story too. Your photos totally captured ‘us’ and we will always treasure these.
- The incredible energy you added by arriving when you did in my labouring experience. As much as I would have loved to have you with me through my whole labour, I so valued the boost you gave when you arrived. Your coaching, your compassion and understanding, were so appreciated. I remember reaching out during a really strong contraction and feeling so supported to not only find Jono’s hand, but yours too. That was a really precious moment for me.
- Your amazingly detailed notes. I often read back over the notes you have written, and I’m so grateful to have these. You took extra time to capture the story of my pregnancy, birth, and our early weeks with Jude. I love that our family will always have this record.
- The part you played in giving me such a strong experience of trust. The different roles I hold in life mean I’m often in a position of thinking, leading, deciding and doing. When I wrote affirmations in preparation for labour, some of the strongest affirmations were about the reality that I didn’t need to be in control or in charge. A huge part of this was that I completely trusted you as my advocate. This depth of letting go and trusting has been a redefining experience for me, and I look forward to this shaping my future.
- When you said, “I would do the next five for you if I could,” at a point when I was really struggling with contractions. It really struck me the sense of how much you really meant this. I knew you were so totally and genuinely on my team.
- The gentle, inviting way you encouraged me to ‘surrender’ when I was at the height of contractions. The first few times you said it, I thought what you were asking was utterly impossible. But, thanks to your continual encouragement, I had one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had of surrendering. This was another beautiful, re-defining and future shaping moment you gifted me with.
- The way you fostered our confidence in our decision making as parents. You facilitated a process for Jono and I whenever we were faced with a decision which has left us feeling well able to trust our decisions as new parents. I am thankful that what we have learnt and the confidence we have gained will be with us as we go on to make another 1001 decisions throughout our parenting.
- The high value you placed on my birth plan, in all its detail. When you arrived on the night of my labour, I remember hearing you ask about lighting a candle, because you remembered that this was one of the little things I wanted. I loved that whatever I valued, you valued, and whatever I wanted, you wanted for me.
- The way you enjoyed our ‘this doesn’t look like Wills and Kate’ moment, as I stood in my PJs with Jono and Jude, waving goodbye to our family at the door the night Jude was born. This was one of my favourite moments, as you so heartily laughed with us. For me this represented how supportive you are of realistic expectations for new Mums. You gifted me with a lack of expectation, which helped me to lower my expectations of myself, and I’m so grateful to be going about my motherhood journey with plenty of grace
- The way you allowed my belief in my ability to birth at home to grow gradually. I came to you not entirely convinced that it was possible for me to have a home birth, and with relatively low trust in myself going into something difficult and unknown. I thought other people could do it, but I had little to no confidence that I could be a ‘home birth person.’ I am so grateful you let me discover my birthing confidence at my own pace, and that this was allowed to unfold naturally.
Thank you for being you, (midwife), and for gifting me with you as a companion through this profound experience. I appreciate you.