I take a very limited number of birth clients per month so that I can focus my entire attention and love and support on them, my two daughters, my marriage and my home.
Once you are my birth client, you are also much more to me. I become a silent and supportive member of a mother's birth team.
I aim for you to feel safe and supported by me. I want you to have a happy, safe and supported pregnancy and birthing experience. Besides being your birth photographer or birth film maker, I aim to be a source of support and information so that you can feel this very positive way.
Every single birth client is incredibly special and unique to me, and it is especially moving to me when my birth client reaches out to me in search of guidance through their pregnancy and birth. I want to support the women under my wing as best I can with information so that they can make the best informed decisions possible for their pregnancies, their births and their post partum.
In the hopes of helping inform women about all their options, I have put together a list of questions I think are important to ask a Home Birth Midwife when you meet her for the first time. Many of these questions can easily be restructured to ask a hospital midwife and OBGYN, for moms who go that route.
There is also a secondary reason for me writing this blog post and it stems from my own experiences. I had a less than supportive experience during my pregnancy with my first daughter with my OBGYN. I did not feel honored and most visits I felt belittled, almost as if I should have been apologizing for arriving to prenatal visits with questions. My birthing journey with that provider was a negative one that impacted both my physical and mental health.
In an effort to avoid another negative experience, I chose a different type of birth team for my second pregnancy. I chose to hire a midwife and a doula. However, what I did not realize at the time is that not all midwives and doulas are the same. Not just with various level of skill, but also their personalities are different, their character, how they handle various situations, their personal preferences for prenatal care and labor / birthing decisions, and equally importantly, how they make you feel. In retrospect, two and a half years ago, I chose my birth team for my second pregnancy for three reasons: because I knew them from work and we shared some of the same friends, because they were available, and lastly, because they carried the titles "midwife" and "doula".
Years later, with my daughter's birth in hindsight, I realize now, those were not good enough reasons for me for choosing my birth team. What I had been wanting during that pregnancy was to find a team that would allow me to feel safe, supported, heard, special, honored, and not judged. All things I did not have during my first pregnancy and birth. But at the time, I wasn't aware that those were the criteria I was seeking of my birth team. At the time, I could not put words to what I felt lacking.
And because I was not aware at the time that all midwives and doulas are not the same and do not offer the same level of support and skill, and because I was not aware that not every midwife will be the right midwife for you personally, I chose my team only out of convenience and availability.
As a result of the decisions I have made that took me down a path of a negative experience with both of my births, besides informing women of what important questions they should be asking their home birth midwives, my secondary goal with this post is to bring light to what expecting moms should be expecting of themselves:
What is your own personal criteria for choosing a midwife?
I would like to precede this list of questions to ask a Home Birth midwife with question #1, which is really a question to yourself:
The most important questions, are going to be the Questions to Yourself. Because ultimately, as skilled, recommended and pleasant a midwife might be, they won't be the right midwife for you unless they meet your personal criteria.
As an innately wise woman, you carrying with you the gift of motherly instinct and intuition to guard yourself and your little growing life. I urge you to consider the following:
When you interview a home birth midwife, once the interview is complete, and you return home, allow yourself quiet, down time to reflect on the experience. Allow yourself to process how the meeting went.
How did you feel as the midwife spoke?
How did the things she said make you feel?
Did she let you feel heard and not rushed?
Did her personality help you to feel connected and instantly safe and supported?
Take note of what feelings may rise from your instincts.
Those feelings will always be 100% right.
They will become LOUD during your pregnancy and birth.
There is a difference, of course, between leaving the meeting with a midwife and realizing you have more questions for her, and feel unsettled until you follow up and clear up uncertainties. Not every first meeting will be perfectly complete.
However, if you feel hesitant or unsure regarding your very first meeting, and if any negative feelings are present, as your pregnancy proceeds, take into consideration that those instinctual feelings you had the first time will become louder and more pronounced and ultimately, unavoidable. It is impossible to hush the roar of your maternal instincts without compromising your peace. I speak so profoundly to this matter because I have lived this reality with my own experiences.
Alternately, if during the very first meeting with a midwife you felt connected, safe, supported, and you smiled, perhaps a tear welled up in your eye because you felt like you found 'home' with this person, those feelings will amplify as you get closer to your meeting day with your baby and aid in creating a positive mindset for your labor and birth and boost your self confidence. And in order to have the peaceful, calm birth you desire, you must believe in yourself and feel supported in your decisions.
Here are some additional questions from the Birth Without Fear blog that I felt are very helpful in aiding you to process how you feel after your first meeting with a new midwife:
- Would you be friends with this person? Why/Why not?
- Does either remind you of your mother? How do you feel about this?
- Were you able to ask all the questions you wanted to? Why/Why not?
- How did you feel about the birth when talking with them, compared to how you feel about it normally? More or less excited, more or less anxious?
- Was the visit enjoyable?
- If there were other family members present, what was their experience of the interaction?