I was pregnant with my fourth baby in 2015 when I heard what I thought was a call into midwifery. I got an apprenticeship arranged before she was even born, but was not to be allowed to begin until she was 4 months old.
As soon as she was old enough, I began attending prenatal days weekly and births on average 4x/mo with my preceptor (and sometimes 1-2 more as a birth photographer). I carved out time to study and attend trainings and such, too. Yup, busy.
The Lord called me out so clearly and persistently after 9 months. It felt like a rescue but also a loss.
To this day I’m not entirely sure why, or whether the reason was that it’s not my calling at all…. or because it wasn’t in season, or that that particular apprenticeship wasn’t quite the right road to make me the kind of midwife God was calling me to be.
But here are some truths I’ve gleaned along the way:
⭐️The Lord is a shepherd who leads gently those who are with young. And so maybe going hard after something so all-consuming while raising one’s own babies doesn’t fit that reality, and that’s ok.
⭐️ The work of serving women in birth will always be there because women will always be having babies. There. Is. No. Rush.
⭐️There’s a lot to be said for being an older midwife, and I suspect traditionally most were! There is natural authority and hard-earned wisdom that can only be formed in the crucible of motherhood and more years. Even the “waiting” whilst “only” raising your own babies is part of the training and preparation, NOT a deterrent to it.
⭐️Midwifery is about so much more than attending births. Being “with woman” can be done in so many ways, from hosting sister circles, to bringing food to new mamas, lending a hand to a tired pregnant friend, or taking it upon yourself to become your community’s herbal/natural healing resource person, or sharing what you learn from your inevitable birth nerd study sessions on social media or at your church. Be a servant. Show up for women in the ways you can right now.
⭐️A midwife isn’t made by getting in numbers or passing a NARM exam. She is formed by God on winding, unpredictable and wholly intentional paths that take years to traverse. The title of midwife is bestowed by God.
⭐️Even if you are only destined to attend 2 births in all your life, you can do it to your utmost, bringing all the fullness of the aroma of Christ in your wake. Those two families are worth all of your formation, study, and preparation and for them, you might be exactly who they most need.
⭐️There are lots of things we need to shed in order to attend births well, and I think those things can get stripped while we live life outside of birth work, and also certainly within it. Things like fear of man, ego, and savior complexes. And also the idolization of the role or title of Midwife. Midwifery is not about you, ever. Making it your identity and source of worth will go badly for you and the women you serve.
⭐️The clinical skills and accurate assessment matter, and you should strive to be knowledgeable and capable in all things. But being self-possessed enough to sit on your hands and look as if you are doing nothing (because almost everything you are doing is intangible) is just as important. So is listening to the Holy Spirit as you observe a laboring mama-baby pair in their labor dance. This is a skill you can practice in the meantime, and which will be of good use in all areas of your life.
⭐️The role of educating, inspiring, truth-telling, and conveying confidence in God’s design of birth is equally important and you can start there today. We can show a watching world through our own birth journeys that there is a higher way, and that birth is an invitation to transformation, joy, and intimacy with God. Unless we show them, they’ll believe the world’s lies about having babies and won’t know there is something better to reach for.
⭐️Just as in the body of Christ, not everyone can be an arm, and all parts are equally of value, so in the realm of birth work! Not all of us will be midwives but we might be childbirth educators, advocates, activists, doulas, postpartum doulas, birth keepers, sisters, friends, mentors, breastfeeding consultants, intercessors, photographers, and mothers. Each “part” matters just as much as the other when it comes to changing the way life begins in our culture and time. Learning to be truly ok with that is vital, and freeing.
If you’d like a safe place to wait and to explore your calling, consider the Believing Birth Keepers Circle.
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