I internally cringe whenever I hear someone comment on how women have been birthing with the assistance of midwives for the majority of history. Historically, midwives did not deliver babies. They were not some expert called in for the pregnancy or birth. Traditionally, midwives were the important women in one’s life – mothers, sisters, grandmothers, and close friends. They would step in to help when needed, tending to household duties, taking care of older children, bringing food, and picking up any slack when a woman was birthing and getting to know the new baby.
I remember jokingly saying to my husband after our first child was born that I wouldn’t mind having a midwife if we could call one up after the baby was born. She would come in, comment about how beautiful the baby was, clean the house, make some food, and help out where needed. His face dropped and he exclaimed, “But that’s my job.”
In today’s age of nuclear families, my husband has taken on the role of a traditional midwife. He doesn’t deliver our babies or try to coach me . He doesn’t interfere at the times when I need to be connected with my body and our baby. He merely supports me and helps out where he can. With the birth of each child, he has taken off 2-3 weeks from work in order to cook, clean, and help out however I need him. It’s because of his support that I have been able to focus on getting to know each of our children, establish breastfeeding with them, and not feel as though the entire house has fallen apart.
This post is part of Science & Sensibility’s 6th Healthy Birth Blog Carnival.