Hi, my name is Lyndal Honeyman and I’ve been a midwife for 5 years now. I started studying midwifery because I was fascinated with the physical process of pregnancy and birth. It seemed mysterious and I wanted to know more.
What sustains me now is more than the processes of pregnancy and birth, it’s the whole journey of meeting women and families, walking with them as they grow and develop, give birth and begin their new life with a new baby.
There is one woman’s story that has stayed with me for years. It’s not a complicated story or a bad or sad story. For me, it’s a story that reminds me why I became a midwife.
They were a young couple and the woman was pregnant with their first baby. When I first met them, early in her pregnancy, she was feeling really unsure about the pregnancy and becoming a parent.
Sadly, she had been told by a medical professional that because her body mass index (BMI) was relatively high she would have a difficult pregnancy and definitely need a caesarean section birth. What better way to make a woman feel like she’s not good enough!
The poor woman was feeling ashamed, like she wasn’t good enough to be pregnant, let alone be a mother. She felt like she would fail at everything – birthing, feeding, mothering.
Fortunately we had plenty of time to build a relationship and I was able to reassure her and help her begin to delight in her pregnancy.
She went into labour pretty much right on her due date, which was great, and she had quite a long early labour. I saw her at home several times before we made the decision together to go to the birthing unit at the hospital.
Because the early stage of her labour was so long she was tired and began to get anxious and self-doubting again.
We discussed the next steps. She decided to have an epidural to assist her body to rest, as she had tried other physiological and pharmacological methods and found that they were not working for her at the time. We were able to help her create a calm and relaxing environment, which was very important to her to have, and she progressed very quickly and gave birth – on her hands and knees – to a handsome baby! She ended up having the birth she never thought she could have and I have never seen anyone so over the moon.
I could see on her face the sudden awareness that she was a strong and awesome woman, capable of anything! Suddenly it all came together for her – she knew she’d be able to feed her baby, she knew she’d be a great mother.
They went home the next morning feeling really, really confident.
And I went home that day feeling excited and humbled. I was honoured to have helped this woman to realise confidence in herself and her body, and was privileged to be part of her journey into motherhood.
I still feel relatively new in my career as a midwife. I am inspired by my colleagues who are so skilled, insightful and confident, whose years of practice have made them so wise. One day I will be like them.