Today is International Day of the Midwife.
I like how kind of archaic it sounds. Because midwifery is an ancient art, a tradition passed down from the first messy birth.
So today I want to honor those women who do this thing. This up-all-night thing. This hold-our-hand thing. Today I want to make sure that those women know how valued they are.
Midwifery means to me…
…jokes and laughs after a 5 minute check-up on the totally normal thing that is pregnancy.
…tight hugs and calm words for the darkest moments of early motherhood.
…a loving, stern reminder that “babies come when they’re ready” and to “stop googling.”
…prayers over transition.
…the strong hand that takes the gripping squeeze of a terrified mother-becoming.
…empathy. For the stitches.
…an anchor to cling to between contractions that shake you off your footing.
…the broad smile and happy tears that celebrate your babies as though they are the first to ever enter the world.
…time-tested advice and knowing – during pregnancy, during labor, during mothering.
…frantic phone calls met with patient wisdom when my new baby has thrush and I’m scared I broke her already.
…quiet smiles that calm my nerves without a word.
…remembering scattered details.
…holding space and guarding the sacred right of a mother to guide her child from womb to arms.
…going way above and beyond what is typed out on the invoice.
Midwives are humble. Every midwife I have met insists that she is merely there to help, not to run the show. Yet there is nothing “mere” about her. She is the sister, the aunt, the friend, the mother of yesteryear, passing the torch, affirming us in the transition from this generation to that generation. She is more than hands to catch the baby, more than the charts she keeps or the papers she files. Moms deliver babies and midwives deliver a message: you can do this. All of this. You are mother, I heard you roar.
So thank you to all the midwives I know and don’t know. Thank you for your service, your compassion, your guidance, and the presence that reminds us that we are able.
And Happy Day of the Midwife!