Editors Corner: Celebrating the Challenges of Midwifery

Midwifery Today, Issue 149, Spring 2024
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Midwifery by definition is about being “with,” which leaves us with an open-ended commitment of time, energy, and resources. Midwives as professionals regularly discuss the stressors of the job: the intensity, the emotions, the processing, the feeling of constant learning, questioning, and educating oneself and others while also performing a thousand other roles, including administrator, bookkeeper, phlebotomist, and consultant. 

I wanted to produce this issue on the strength of midwifery, which celebrates these challenges and how midwives meet them. The lows, the highs, the different needs of each and, at the same time, how we are never the same midwife because each birth changes us. For some, these are subtle changes—such as an acknowledgement that we need to do less or more. For others the changes are huge—recognizing that we need to know more, have a broader scope of thinking, or learn a new skill. 

Let’s acknowledge that this job is difficult while being miraculous, and that it is hard to walk the clinical, social, and political barriers while standing up for ourselves as autonomous and amazing individuals who refuse to give up on this most intimate and real profession.

About Author: Shannon Mitchell

Shannon Mitchell is a wife, mother, and grandmother who also serves as a midwife in Washington state. She originally fell in love with history and research but felt her life’s purpose shift as she experienced her first birth as a cesarean surgery followed by three VBAC in hospitals and a birth center. She has served in the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) and several other midwifery and birth-based organizations and feels that autonomy, choice, and education should be primary to all experiences of birth.

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