Saturday, October 15, 2011


 The midwifery I practise is inextricably linked to my being a mother, and being a mother to my family cannot be separated from midwifery as I know it.

Although I learnt the basics of midwifery in the classroom and wards of the Royal Women's Hospital, I consolidated my learning, and became convinced of my identity as a mother-midwife during the months and years of pregnancy, giving birth, breastfeeding, and nurturing my four children.

This precious picture shows our two girls, happily breastfeeding their dollies.  The year was 1977, when their brother was a baby. 

Further down the page is a pic taken this week, of Bec with her baby James at her breast, in that blissful milky dream-state.

This past week has been a very special one for our family, as we have experienced the inevitable separation that comes with death of a loved one.  Yesterday my husband's mother, Lily Johnston, was buried, surrounded by her loving family.    Grandma had her 99th birthday earlier this year.

Being mother-midwife to my family requires a special trust between me and the young women.  I cannot presume that any woman will accept the principles that I follow; I cannot expect, nor would I want, uncritical adherance to a professional care plan that is not widely understood in our community. 

The ability of a particular woman in bearing and nurturing a child is not a fixed or definable matter.  The 'power-passage-passenger-psyche' equation is tested as the mystery of labour proceeds.  A woman who is able to continue and make good progress does not need to consider other options.  'Plan A' is, for her, the only plan to be considered.

A woman whose progress is slow, or who is unable to accept the pain she experiences, or whose baby's heart sounds tell us that he is not receiving enough blood during the contractions - this woman is confronted with complex and often challenging choices and decisions: 'Plan B'.

Being mother-midwife often takes me into realms of uncertainty. 

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