Giving birth. It’s a big deal. A life-changing moment. Something you will do only a few times in your life. Something transforming, and powerful and… bloody.
But if delivering babies is your job, does it ever feel like just another day at the office?
According to Fiona MacArthur, who’s been a midwife in Kempsey in northern NSW for 30 years, no, it doesn’t. She insists the magic never fades. “I love birth and babies, I love the women, I love all of it…” she says.
Listen to Fiona tell Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo everything you’ve ever wondered about birth, here (post continues after audio):
We asked Fiona all of the things we have wanted to know about how birth looks from the other side.
Do good midwives have to be mothers?
“That’s a bit of a myth. You can have very empathetic women who’ve never had babies, and then women who’ve had lots but don’t have an empathetic bone in their body. Although usually, they are not midwives…”
Fiona has five sons, by the way.
The enemy of a trouble-free birth is one word: Fear.
“Fear is your worst enemy… You really need to stop looking at [birth] like an exam and look at it like you’re designed to do it. You just have to have faith… women need to know that if they don’t get scared their hormones are going to run and their labour’s going to go faster.”
The person you want in the room with you is the calm one.
“Having the husband in the room and using the husband as the main means of support is the biggest change in 30 years… That’s changed everything. He needs to be there, he needs to be the person looking into your eyes and telling you you’re amazing.”
And if not a ‘husband’, here’s who you want: “The person to choose is the one who will make you feel calm. You don’t want the person sitting in the corner going ‘Oh my God where’s the doctor? This is all going to go bad…’. To them we’re like, ‘Please put that person outside and give them a cup of coffee’.