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'I was a childless midwife for years. Mums-to-be judged me for it.'

When I first started my midwifery degree, I was childless.

Many of the women in my family questioned my decision to become a midwife based on the fact that I didn’t have any kids.

“How can you help women give birth when you’ve never given birth yourself?” said one aunt.

Watch: Your questions about childbirth answered by mums and non-mums. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

As I was raised to respect my elders, I kept quiet and listened to them criticise me for my career choice. 

But as I progressed through my degree, I quickly realised that my relatives weren’t the only ones who held this belief. 

A question that is often asked by expectant parents to midwives is, “Do you have any kids?”

While some ask this question to break the ice between them and their midwife, many expectant parents unfortunately ask this question as they believe that they will receive better care from a midwife who has had kids themselves than from one who hasn’t. 

Not only is this type of thinking flawed, but it is discriminatory and offensive.

Listen: Are you ever "ready" for a baby. Post continues below. 

Midwives aren’t hired based on whether they’ve had children or not. They’re hired because they’re deemed competent practitioners who are capable of providing high-quality evidence-based care.

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And besides, being a midwife is much more than about just giving birth. It’s about supporting women throughout their pregnancy, labour, birth and postpartum period while also having the ability to recognise any deviations from the norm and knowing exactly how to manage them, so that the woman and her family are able to have positive outcomes.

I mean, I’d certainly rather receive care from a midwife who knows how to manage obstetric emergencies such as a postpartum haemorrhage, which is a leading cause of maternal deaths globally, then over, say, someone who has birthed 50 to 100 babies.

I mean, some of best mentors I’ve had throughout my midwifery career did not have any children themselves. But not once did I ever take this into consideration when deciding whether I should be taught or receive advice from them. 

People must also realise that it’s no easy feat to become a midwife in Australia.

Midwives are required to first study an approved nursing and or, midwifery degree. They must complete various assessments, undergo tests and attend clinical placements in a hospital. And, in addition to this, they must also complete a compulsory component which requires them to provide continuity of care to a certain number of women throughout their pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal period. 

Yes, that means being on-call 24 hours, 7 days a week and getting up at 2am if one of these women goes into labour at this ungodly hour of the morning. 

Even though the degree was, at times, physically and mentally demanding, I’m so glad I didn’t listen to my relatives and persisted with my studies because being a midwife is the most challenging yet rewarding job that I could ever dream of doing. 

Oh, and by the way, I eventually had three kids during my career as a midwife. 

But, has having kids made me a better midwife? No, it hasn’t. It’s just made me a midwife with kids. Nothing more, and nothing less.

Feature Image: Getty,

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