Sunday, September 26, 2010

Empathy as a Midwife

Recently, I found myself telling my husband how interesting it is that I have so much empathy for the school children that I teach art to. I was musing how interesting it was that I have so much compassion for these students and wondering out loud where it all came from? He replied by saying that it was exactly like the empathy I carry for my midwife client mamas and why should this profession be any different for me? What a correlation he drew for me! I realized that even though I may not be in the throws of midwifery at this instant, that I'm still interacting with humans on a daily basis and forming relationships and this requires a great degree of empathy. As a midwife I would find myself amid situations or smells that were less than savory, but I wasn't ever repulsed by these things. Instead, my mind would see the situation clearly with the woman at the helm needing compassion and care and not criticism. My heart would always jump to the defense of the good and it was relatively easy for me to feel a great degree of compassion instead of contempt for these women and what they were going through.
Being a midwife requires that you take risks personally and professionally. It demands that you stick to your guns and remain passionate about what you are involved in. It requires that you enter in to relationships with wonderful and not so wonderful people and yet, treat them all the same. It calls to you in the middle of the night when the world is quiet and your mind is racing and quietly whispers to you the reason why you are going out on a limb for women and families. Midwifery has brought me to my knees, made me go to depths I wouldn't have chosen to go to and broken down my soul many, many times, but through it all, it has remained a constant, powerful force that reminds me of what it means to serve humanity and contain the empathy of the world in your heart. It keeps my soul alive and wanting and through the challenges and joys of dealing with women and men and children, it continues to call me to compassionate service. I consider midwifery to be my best friend. She has gently helped me to grow and become the woman I've always desired. She has been a constant in my life for the last 13 years and compassionately molded my soul through both challenges and triumphs. She has helped me to hold a compassion for all human beings by witnessing their challenges and pain first hand. Midwifery has been a wonderful teacher and for this I am so grateful. As I teach the children of my community art and humanity, may I remember the stories and women who have taught me how to be more compassionate and empathetic. Midwifery has a way of changing your perspective and revealing raw, human experiences to teach you all along the way. How did I become so privileged to partake of this great profession? I feel so grateful that I was led to midwifery many moons ago and that I allowed it to take hold of my heart. It has been a wonderful journey with many more lessons to learn, I'm sure. Mostly, I've been privileged to work with other compassionate women who have been teachers to me. I would love to hear how midwifery has increased your empathy for others, also. Please post your comments so we can learn from all of you wise women. Thanks for reading and good luck on your journey!


Gloria said...

I feel very similar and am actually going to begin a process of midwifery study. I am currently 5 months along with my second child (but they have different fathers).
Now, I have a question a midwife, did you ever come across a mate who was less than compassionate towards the female in labor? I have experienced natural birth before, and although I enjoy it immesly for its experience and wouldnt chose to do it any other way, I'm finding it extremely challenging to find any sort of empathy towards the situation of labor with my husband.
He reacts very similarly towards my daughter (from a different man) when she hurts herself he pretty much just tells her to get over it and cannot seem to find a way to acknowledge that she might be in pain and that it is ok to experience pain. As my pregnancy is going further and further along I am finding many differences with this pregnancy....mostly a lack of compassion on his part and its beginning to slightly worry me.
The topic of labor came up tonight and he just seems so nonchalant about the whole thing and that I wont really experience any pain because pain isnt real.
I understand a lot of it has to do with your way of thinking, but Im finding his lack of compassion simply making me defensive and completely unhelpful at all.
If you have any advice at all for this situation I would GREATLY appreciate it.
Many Blessings on all your endeavors <3

Lori Wrankle, Traditional Midwife said...

I have found many husbands or dads to be very unempathetic, including my own, during birth. Yes, it is very difficult, but if you tell him that it is hurting you he should hopefully change. An open line of communication is all you can give him to help you both heal with this situation. It is hard for men to understand, they have never experienced anything like labor and delivery. Understand and love each other and thanks for reading! All my best for your upcoming birth!