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A midwife’s story

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.

Film-Colour-10They 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.

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International Day of the Midwife

Film-Colour-1Midwife and NZNO delegate Joanna Ramsay talks about her career as a midwife.

I feel so blessed to be a midwife in our primary unit, within our local community, where I work with kind and competent colleagues, awesomely brave and knowledgeable lead maternity carers, and the treasured women, babies and families of Kāpiti.

We are a small unit that packs a lot of punch! A bastion of midwifery and woman-centered care!

I feel honoured to work in a profession and workplace that enables me to participate in that most miraculous of times; birth. To share in that most intimate and beautiful occasion, to witness the opening up, the joy and pain, and the process of recovery.

I understand what it is to be with women; midwives and clients alike. To give my love in that work, assisting as I can; a kind word, a helpful insight, an experienced pair of hands, a pot of tea, kindness and encouragement.

I am proud out unit has a 98 percent breastfeeding rate for many years, and proudly, our fourth Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative recertification in 2014. Being involved in supporting breastfeeding, which I consider to be the most important health measure in the world, is a gift.

To women I say; “You are giving your baby the gift of health, having given them the gift of life! Your milk is liquid love! And generational health!”

It is my gift to see the women feeding competently, staring lovingly at their newborn; those amazing little creatures at the cutting edge of energy.

There have been many midwives who have helped to grow our unit into the positive and well-functioning place that it is. A generative, inclusive and growing entity that seeks to develop and improve its processes and effectiveness in an on-going way. One of the beauties of our unit is our communications with each other and our relationships, with each other and with our clients and their whānau.

What a place – midwife, women and family friendly! I am so proud to belong here. It is joyous and satisfying. It is challenging and heartbreaking. But always, it is overwhelmingly wonderful work. I am honoured to be of this womanly line.

Joanna Ramsay RCN RM


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Midwives: changing the world one family at a time

Midwives day 2014On International day of the Midwife, a midwife and NZNO member talks about her profession.

Last Friday, while traversing the corridors of the tertiary hospital where I work, I met a fellow midwife whom I’ve known for more than 20 years, though our paths seldom cross these days.

While she’s been self-employed for decades, providing care for women whose pregnancies are, for the most part, categorised as “low-risk”, I am a DHB employee, working with women whose experience of pregnancy and birth is radically affected by medical complications.

The rhythms of our day-to-day practice differ markedly, but at the heart of both is a commitment to offering skilled support to women through one of the most profound experiences of their lives. We each acknowledge the vital part the other plays, two among a variety of roles, all of equal value, which constitute midwifery as a whole.

Our meeting reminded me of how much this solidarity of purpose means to me; it is a saving grace when the pressures of working within the increasingly stressed and under-resourced public health system feel overwhelming and unsustainable.

My friend and I made the most of the opportunity to “vent” about how governments, hospital administrations and statutory bodies often make our work harder through ill-conceived laws, policies and regulations.  When we parted company I felt fortified, and I hope that she did too.  I consoled myself with the thought that while governments and their institutions come and go, the things that really matter survive and flourish in spite of them.

On International Midwives’ Day what’s on my mind is that women need midwives, and midwives need each other – that does not change. Let’s look after each other.