Why Do I want to be a Midwife?
This is my little story, of the rivers I crossed and the mountains I scaled…
The journey into a new Paradigm had begun in 2002 when I was 18.It was first time I challenged to open up and step out. The youth group that I was a part of had offered me a window into a world beyond. I finished my schooling as fast as I could and turned towards a zone unknown. I started off with tutoring kids, volunteering at old age homes and foster cares. I also found myself working with a Public relations firm for a couple of months; and eventually transitioned to being a Flight Attendant with Air India. There was one commonality with every career I choose was, PEOPLE; I loved them.
A bright spring day, 17 March 2009, the Futane Farm, Maharashtra; a day I will always remember. A farm situated in a small hamlet of India. A bunch of us had gathered to talk about the rising rates of farmer suicide and experience typical village life. A picture quite removed from my immediate reality. All this was a bit overwhelming for me. Farmers dying due lack of money, debts, pesticides, no adequate food, schools and health care. Which century was I living in? Is this the same India that I belong to or had I and millions like me closed our eyes to this reality which is 74% or our land mass?
I never went back to Flying, I travelled from the South to the North covering as many Sates and villages I could. Absorbing like a sponge. At the end of a year I start working with Navdanya an NGO which works with farmers around 16 States in India. My area of work led to women, as they the primary seed keepers and the hands that toil in the fields. These were strong empowered women with amazing knowledge and wisdom. They knew the forests and streams like the back of their hands. The land was their mother and teacher. The use of herbs and plants from their farms and forests was an everyday affair. They used it as food and medicine.
There was always a sense of community and interdependence. If a child was born it was the community’s responsibility, everyone chipped in to care for the baby and the new mother. As I came towards towns and cities, this picture changed significantly. People where shunning the age old tradition of “Dai’s” (traditional Midwife’s) and walking towards a technocratic model of birthing. Maternity homes had mushroomed in every town promising a cleaner and a safer birthing environment. Mother’s travelling too far of places to give birth and cough up all their saving’s in the name of safety. The C-section rates have soared high as in every developing country. And inducing labor was becoming a norm.
The severity of this hit me when a friend of mine tried to deliver her baby at home with a midwife. The atmosphere in the house was somber, almost hostile as she tried to deliver vaginally. Her labor stalled she had to be rushed to the hospital; reason failure to progress. A baby who had not even seen the light of day was labeled as a “FAILURE” he didn’t have the ability to make in on his own. The fear around childbirth and its treatment as a disease makes me cringe.
The feminist and naturalist in me are struggling to bring about a positive change. Now I truly understand what it is like to be called to do something. And for me it is being a Midwife…witnessing nature at its best; miracle of life itself. Surrendering to the highest energies and being instrumental in bringing forward a generation, nurtured with Unconditional Love and Compassion. Me playing as life guard alert and attentive; in case an anomaly occurs.
Midwifery feel‘s like a natural progression, a pivotal event in my path. The woman in me is ready to take on this responsibility, , to choose this as a way of life. It resonates with my Philosophy of living simply and following the cues of nature. For me life is an ongoing cosmic dance one we bear witness to. My encounter with birth started form the earth. The simple process of sowing a seed and watching it germinate still gets my eyes rolling. I have complete faith in the design of nature and that each of us has a niche. It’s unto us to discover it. Midwifery appeals to the very crux of my being (feminist and ecologist/naturalist). I feel I have come full circle. The time is ripe for change.
I have always adored pregnant women, beautiful and radiant with perfect round bellies. There is a certain aura that they emanate. I almost feel protective towards them. Wanting to walk with them towards the sacred passage called birth. Letting them know that they are not alone in this journey. I want to them love and trust their bodies. To help them understand that if nature put their baby in the womb it has also ingeniously designed the way out. I want to work towards dissolving the fear and hostility towards birth.
I want to be the hands that soothes the mothers aching back, the hands that hold the perineum to prevent a tear, dexterously catches the slippery baby, resuscitates a limp one if need be. I want to be the voice that will guide women to trust their bodies and help them surrender. I want to be a set of eyes that welcomes the newborn with love and compassion. I want to be able to care for the duo humanely. I want to be a witness to each Miracle that falls into my hands.
Every baby that is born on this planet is an essential part of Gaia. The way we welcome her in our lives molds her and prepares her for the life ahead. There is definitely a place for Obstetricians and technology but let’s save it for times of dire need. There is one thought that comes to mind at this point said by M.K.Gandhi, “Almost everything you do seems insignificant, but it is important that you do it”. The choice is ours to make.