Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How Do You Practice Real Midwifery?

by Leslie Ludka, CNM, MSN

Editor’s Note: In honor of National Midwifery Week, we asked Leslie Ludka to write an encore post based on her article “Are You Practicing Real Midwifery?” (click on the article for a sneak peak at Quickening, ACNM’s members-only newsletter!). Leslie is a regular columnist for Quickening and is Director of Midwifery at Cambridge Hospital and Birth Center in Cambridge, MA.

Whenever I think about midwifery as a career, I remember Sister Angela Murdaugh’s words: “Midwifery is a calling. If you do not believe that you were called, you should get out of midwifery.”

But, how do we know if we were called? Does it have to manifest in a specific type of job in a specific type of setting? Is it only a calling if we can’t wait to get up every morning and rush to work? Does being financially successful make it a calling?

I’m not sure about you, but for most of us, midwifery is neither easy nor lucrative. In fact, there are times when midwifery is the hardest job in the world—just ask any midwife to tell you the story of that case that haunts her memories. We all have one. In fact, there are times when our work is so difficult that no amount of money would attract most rational people.

So, why would anyone choose midwifery? I believe that Sister Angela has it right. Midwifery is not a choice; it is a calling. We do not choose midwifery; midwifery chooses us. When I went to midwifery school, I never asked if there would be a job for me when I finished. I didn’t wonder how much money I would make. I know it sounds crazy, but the truth is, it didn’t matter. Midwifery is my calling.

A calling fulfills your personal mission in life. It feeds your spirit by using your unique gifts and abilities to satisfy your deep inner purpose. Following your calling means staying on the path of that which you feel most passionate about, even when it is difficult. A calling is about truly loving what you do.

As we celebrate National Midwifery Week, let’s honor the diversity of this amazing calling of midwifery by sharing with each other and our supporters. Tell us, how has midwifery called you: clinical practice, education, administration, or something else? How do you live your calling?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Midwifery has been calling me (first with a faint whisper and more recently with a loud shout!) since the births of my children, 7 and 4 years ago. I knew that the way my midwives affected my life, the way they treated me, the way they empowered me was something I wanted to be a part of. My first step was to become a doula, and now I am making the leap and applying to midwifery school. I know it is the right choice, the right time etc, etc. What I don't know is if I will be given the opportunity to take this path to my calling. Competition is stiff, the number of spaces in the program are few, and I wonder if I am much too old to be changing careers. But each time I dismiss midiwfery as an option, something happens to pull me back in, to remind me that this is my path, and I need to keep walking it, even if it is thorny.