The topic of women’s health has been in the news (and in the streets) frequently this year. As someone who prides herself on being an advocate for female empowerment, I’m more than a little interested in chatting with those in the know and learning about the work being done by fabulous ladybosses behind the scenes. With that is mind, I interviewed one such ladyboss on her experience as a midwife and got the inside scoop on this natural and empowering line of work. Take a look!
Meet The Midwife
Emily Walker is a 24-year-old midwife assistant and intern at Preparing For Birth in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She’s a vocal women’s health advocate and one of the most passionate people I know when it comes to mothers and babies. She’s also a mother of one with another on the way. My chat with her about life as a midwife was incredibly interesting for someone whose closest things to a child are my cat and a particularly well-loved copy of Jane Eyre.
Q: What Made You Want To Pursue Midwifery?
A: “Birth and babies are awesome! I believe that receiving respectful and informative fertility and prenatal care is a basic human right that all women should have access to and that the midwifery model of care best reflects this value.
I feel that it is important to empower women in the childbirth process. Our bodies know what to do and we are created with the ability to give birth. We simply need to remind women that the power already lies within them.”
Q: What Qualities Would You Say Make For A Great Midwife?
A: “Respect is the best quality a midwife or any care provider can have. [The midwife] must respect the individual’s right that they are an autonomous human being who has the final say as to the care they will receive.
A cornerstone of the midwifery model of care is to provide informed consent and education to clients. A midwife must be passionate in knowledge and respect her clients enough to educate them on the pros and cons of any and all procedures, allowing them to have the final say.”
Q: How Does One Become A Midwife?
A: “It depends on the type of certification you are seeking. There are four paths to consider.
- A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is a registered nurse (RN) who has a masters degree in midwifery. This path typically requires about eight years of study. Four years for a bachelor’s degree, one year of nursing experience, and three years in a nurse-midwifery program.
- Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a midwife certified through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). NARM verifies that her education and skills are up to standard through tests and exams after and during an internship with an approved preceptor. The CPM certification requires a minimum of 2 years but allows internees up to 10 years to complete their internships based on practice size and workflow. The CPM route is how I am currently pursuing my midwifery certification.
- Licensed Midwife (LM) is typically a CPM who has taken additional testing specific to individual state requirements in order to hold licensure and practice in that specific state. The LM certification can take one to six months depending on the number of state exams etc. I will also become an LM once I have completed my CPM training.
- Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM) is normally a midwife with a wide range of training through internships and self-study who may or may not have a specific certification or who may not be licensed to practice midwifery as some states do not require licensure.”
Q: What’s The Worst/Best Part?
A: “Seeing a mom bring her little one up to her chest to greet them for the first time after her labor of love is powerful! The oxytocin is flowing and everyone can’t help but rejoice.
One of the more difficult aspects of the job is having to counter our culture’s fear and stigma around birth. Women are continuity bombarded with the belief that they have no control or voice in the process. Our society would teach us that birth is gross and unattractive.
Yes, birth can get messy and there are lots of bodily fluids involved. But there is a forgotten beauty to birth that must be recognized. The fact that our bodies can create and nourish life, create an additional organ (the placenta) and labor and birth all through hormone and instinct alone, is not only awe inspiring but is also empowering.”
Q: How Do People React When They Find Out You’re A Midwife?
A: “People will often ask if we do more than bring rags and boil water at births or secretly wonder if we are all witches. No joke! It has totally happened to me and most of the midwives I work with.
Unfortunately, most of the U.S. does not know what midwives do or even know that they have access to midwifery care with only as little as 10-15% of women using midwives each year.”
Q: Real Talk. Do You Watch Call The Midwife?
A: “Yes! I love the show Call The Midwife and a lot of what they portray is pretty accurate for the time period. Boiling urine in glass vials etc.”
Q: What Prepared You For This Work?
A: “I believe in women and my belief in her inner power has prepared me for this work. As a midwife, I have the opportunity to help welcome the gift of a sweet little one into the world in a way that no other person can. Birth work is beautiful work; a work that serves women at their deepest moment of self-reflection.”