labor nurse has been reborn and shares her experiences as a new nurse-midwife, woman, and blogger

Monday, July 13, 2009

Revisiting My Barren Uterus

I've said this before, in other posts, how I get asked very frequently if I have children. People I care for are trying to feel out if I qualify in knowing what to do with a pregnant or laboring woman by having experienced it first hand. I am sure that most of the times they are just trying to connect with me on a more personal level while still having confidence in my care. But what some are hinting at, if not being outright overt, is "a real midwife has birthed".

Being the new midwife in my practice has prompted this question over and over by many of the women and their partners when they meet me for the first time. I've asked the other midwives if they get asked this question, and they do. So I asked the doctors (the female ones, at least) if their patients ask them if they have given birth. Not one of the doctors said they've been asked by a patient if they have children. I think this illustrates my point very clearly.

Perhaps because midwives are so accessible (in a figurative way, as we know there are not enough midwives in all areas of this country) people feel comfortable enough to ask personal questions of us. But my feeling is that there is more to it than that. What many are really asking is if they can trust us because they think we don't really know how to be "with women" if we haven't actually used our womenly parts in their full capacity. It's flat out hypocrisy in my opinion, if a woman would judge me on whether I've given birth or not yet not hold one of the doctors in the practice to the same standard.

I've put this question out there before, but am interesting in seeing what other things you all have to say. Do you think a midwife is more effective as a care provider if she's given birth?


kori said...


I think that having given birth allows a midwife to empathize in a way that one who has never given birth could not. However, there is too much variety in birth to think that this would make a difference in her effectiveness.

What about the midwife who needs a scheduled c-section for placenta previa? Or the midwife who has struggled with fertility problems? Surely these midwives could still provide good care for women giving birth vaginally. Or, how could a midwife who was blessed with short, easy labors understand a difficult, prolonged labor from a personal point of view?

I give good, effective, empathetic care to my patients with COPD, CHF, cancer, and diabetes, and I have none of these conditions. I don't have children, yet, either.

Diana J. said...

My natural feeling would be that, yes, a midwife would be more able to connect with birthing women if she herself had birthed. However, that is completely contradicted by my own experience - I have a team of the most awesome midwives in the world, and neither one of them has had a child (one is due with her first about a month after ours). So regardless of what one might think instinctively, the truth that I have observed is that midwifery is a calling that is based on a woman's identity, not on her obstetrical history. I'll have to ask my midwives post-birth if they think that their own births have affected their identity or effectiveness as midwives. Thanks for the post and the blog!

cileag said...

As an L and D nurse, I also get asked that--and as I'm now 26 weeks pregnant, it's becoming more and more difficult to hide the bump under scrubs so it inevitably brings up questions.

I look at it in two ways. The first is that yes, I do think it gives that "accessible" feeling you describe if your provider has given birth--especially in a similar way as you are. We like to surround ourselves with like, it's human nature somewhat. I'm planning a home birth and I plan on having several women around who have given birth at home or unmedicated to motivate me (and challenge me as I'm somewhat competitive).

But, secondly, sometimes I think that birth workers forget just how much we can be influenced by our own birth experiences---and like any other momentous event, it's probably going to affect our practice. So, sometimes I think it's an advantage to not have that processing to do.

My favorite midwife at work has had 2 c/s and my favorite OB is male, so I would never dismiss someone solely based on their childbirth history.

publichealthdoula said...

For what it's worth doulas get asked this all the time too! And from the perspective of a doula who has not given birth, I think the care I've witnessed from midwives for their patients has little to do with their own birth experiences. I have worked with wonderful and not-so-wonderful midwives from both groups.

I do think one could cast the patients' questions to you vs. doctors in a different light: they are expecting more from you, more "with woman" support. Prenatally, they may think that having personal experience of birth=better support. But no client's ever said to me postpartum "I didn't like that midwife because she never had kids." In the moment of labor, it's the philosophy, warmth, and competence of the midwife that matter.

Anonymous said...

I was choosing between 3 OB/Gyn's a few years ago and the fact that 2 of them had given birth did sway my decision-making in their favor. So it holds for doctors in some cases as well.

Heather Griffith Brewer said...

I don't think all people, men or women, judge you strictly on whether you have given birth or not. I've asked many different kinds of doctors, men and women alike, if they have children. I feel that it's more a matter of connecting to your is a person who knows and does all sorts of very personal things pertaining to you, and I find it just helps me bridge the gap between my provider and myself. Yes, there will be many mothers who will ask...and some may judge your ability to care for them on your answer. Some might just be looking to connect. I would hate to think that having children would be any more of a prerequisite to your position, than having an oncologist that has had cancer.
I don't think you would be more effective had you already given birth. You went to school to learn what you know, you comfort women and provide care based on that knowledge and the knowledge you have gained through years of practice. I know hundreds of woman who have given birth...yet, I can't think of many that I would even want in the room, let alone being the one to oversee and assist.
Bearing a child doesn't make you qualified to help others, anymore that me being able to grow a plant makes me a botanist. I can put gas in my car, doesn't make me a mechanic. I can cook, that doesn't make me a chef.
Shall I go on?

Raena said...

No way! My midwife is the best and hasn't had a baby yet.

NHMomma said...

That is a hard one. More effective? I would be slow to answer. But would I feel more "comfortable" with a MW or OB for that matter that had experienced birth. Does not mean I would choose a birth provider for other reasons, (like how many VBAC's they have had experience with)over their number of children.

SuSuseriffic said...

No, not always.
I can imagine for certain people it would be helpful for the care they give if they actually experienced it. (Did the brain surgeon actually have brian surgery? Is the cancer doctor cancerous?) but not all people need to mirror experinces to have empathetic care. I suspose a acuputurist is better if he/she has had it done....but a female midwife has a womb and cycles and I think that is close enough (for emapthy)..My midwife's assitant was great and she has no children (nor was ever pregnant.)

The Reluctant Crunchy Mama said...

First of all, just wanted to mention that I love your "x crying babies" instead of "x comments"! Very original!

As someone who has one child and might try for another one in the future, I think that it would be nice if my provider had experienced labor and delivery, regardless of whether she was an OB or a midwife. But, honestly, it is not a big deal to me at all. What matters most to me is that the OB or midwife is willing to answer questions and is respectful of the type of birth I want. If I had to choose between experiencing giving birth and her ability as an OB/midwife, I go for how she treats me, rather than her personal experiences. I don't see why OB's and midwives should get a different set of questions from the mothers.

AtYourCervix said...

Maybe, a midwife who has given birth has something over a midwife who has not given birth. However, she who has given birth only has her own personal births to go upon, and we all know that each birth is a unique process. So, I don't necessarily believe that giving birth makes a midwife better than one who has not given birth.

Does an oncology nurse need to have been through cancer to make a "better" oncology nurse, versus one who has not had cancer?

mitchsmom said...

As a matter of fact, it probably makes you more objective to have NOT gone through it. Many people tend to project their own experiences onto others even if they try not to, or think they don't. Especially a biggie like childbirth.

For example, we have one MD who hated every second of her labor contractions and is a HUGE proponent (pusher) of epidurals based on her own experience, where I think she would be more unbiased if she just put the choices, pros and cons out there.

*At the same time*, I think there is an amount of insight that can only be had only by someone who's been through it.
I just think that there are a lot of other more important things that come before that on the list. Like maybe that's an amenity, but not a requirement?

Like, if I had cancer, a cancer survivor would probably have more insight into my situation but certainly it wouldn't be a requirement of my cancer care provider, KWIM?

Natasha said...

I could never imagine asking any care provider if they have given birth! If someone has and is comfortable talking about it, you will know and if not, it is none of anyone's business. I have had 2 children in a hospital and never once thought to ask my nurses if they had done what I was doing, what does it matter? I have given birth 2 times now, once with no medication, does that mean I am qualified to catch? I think not.

Reality Rounds said...

NO. The two best cnm's I work with have no children and choose to not have children. There is a danger in women who have given birth to project their personal experience onto the patient. "Well when I was in labor, I did not scream, or need pain meds, or whatever." The best qualities of a midwife (or doctor, or nurse) are those that come out of their heads and hearts, not their uteri.

Amy said...

I felt more confident in my (male) OB, knowing that he and his wife have children. I feel more confident in my (male) family doctor, knowing that he has four children that are roughly the same ages as my two kids.

I wouldn't necessarily feel more confident, though, with an oncologist who had personally had cancer, but I might feel more confident with an oncologist who had a close family member who had had cancer.

I guess I'm looking for the empathy that comes from a similar shared experience.

That said, I wouldn't reject a midwife (or doctor) who had never had children for that reason alone. If s/he had a good bedside manner, excellent training, a similar philosophy of how birth should be (natural or interventions) to my own, and lots of experience, I could put the "has/has not had kids" question aside.

Pregnancy and labor is such a vulnerable time, and it's really unlike any other medical situation. Most of the time, the patients (mom and baby) are healthy. They aren't seeing you because something is wrong. But the physical demands of labor make a woman less able to think clearly, less able to advocate for herself. There's a greater level of trust that needs to be there between a woman and her midwife/OB. If you don't like the way your doctor treats your sinus infection, you can see another doctor, but if you don't like the way your midwife/OB handles your birth, you don't get another shot at it - and the consequences can be devastating.

Perhaps if you could answer "yes" to the kids question, it would lead to more questions about what you preferred for your own birth experience, and whether or not those preferences changed after the fact.

It's sort of the same thing as when I ask my stock broker whether or not he's got money in the stock he's recommending for me. I don't think it's meant as an insult to the childless midwife, honestly. It's not that you're not "real" if you haven't given birth. It's more a matter of whether or not you've put your own money into the stock you're selling... Does that make any sense?

Butter said...

I actually think ANY birth provider does a better job if they have given birth themselves (or, if they are a man, have been there when their wives gave birth). I've gotta say the female, childless, unmarried (later she came out as a lesbian), OB who delivered my daughter was horrid and uncaring and felt that childbirth was no big deal. The OB I went to with my second had given birth twice and was much more compassionate. The midwife who delivered my second and the midwife who delivered my third and fourth had both given birth and were similar to the OB I had seen for most of my second pregnancy.

I asked the OBs if they had given birth or if they were there when their wives did. I actually never asked if either midwife had because I knew through other ways that they had. So definitely not all OBs are never asked if they have children.

If I had a choice, particularly because of my atrocious treatment from that first OB, I would always go with a midwife who is a mother.

Anonymous said...

I would say absolutely not! Maybe because I haven't had children either. I don't feel like this will hinder me from taking care of my patients or providing less care to them than a midwife who has had children. The question irks me too. I don't know if we'll ever know the true answer behind their questioning. I, like you, would like to believe it's a personal connection thing but I think there is probably more to it than that.

Funny story from this past week, 15yo pt asks me if I have kids and I say no.. she looks at me and says, oh, you don't look old enough to have kids anyway. I kinda smirked and said, I'm alot older than you, honey! She laughed and said, I guess you are right.

Herb of Grace said...

Nope. I was a midwife for five years before I got married and had kids. I think i did a pretty good job :)

Molly said...

You might be interested in an old post at Rural Doctoring:
(and the comments there, too)
It certainly doesn't matter to me whether a birth attendant has given birth. We all have our quirks regarding what we want/need/expect of an attendant, I suppose, but that one seems absolutely irrelevant to me!

michelle mom of 8 said...

My midwife that took care of me through 5 pregnancies has never had a baby. She's in her 60's now I believe and just awesome. She has mothered me in quiet, instinctive way during my pregnancies and through my labors.

Renee said...

Having been through it would certainly give someone another point of view to see the birth from. But I don't think it is necessary. You can be caring and knowledgeable without firsthand experience. Indeed, there are many women for whom the experience would have no effect on the care she gave. Maybe even some who had an easy birth might be less compassionate?
As for the women asking, I think it mostly is just an attempt at making a connection. Not that they would think less of a provider for not having given birth. I don't think someone would go on to ask about the route of delivery, or details of labor, to help decide someone's qualification!
As a gut reaction, it may make someone feel better if the provider had given birth, but ultimately would this play a role in their level of comfort?
I always like the comparison of a cancer patient, that they wouldn't judge a Doctor for not having been a cancer patient. They might like to know that the provider had first hand experience, but it is the care that is really what is important in the end.

Darwinsgirl said...

I don't think it speaks to your competence, training, or your education. But as you noted it does speak to a feeling of closeness and one of trust in someone who has experienced child birth.

I will say, that someone who has witnessed childbirth as many times as a midwife has--has more, not less, experience with birthing though-- even if not first hand.

That is my 2 cents.

Jennylou's Projects said...

I think b/c midwives tend to talk more to you than an OB? An OB is just all business (most of them) and there isn't a lot of sharing of birth stories? Whereas, maybe they're asking you b/c they feel like midwives have a different model of care and so, they want to hear about the midwive's birth experiences? Sort of a bonding experience?

That said, I'd probably ask a m/w if she'd had kids, but I would in no way hold it against her if she didn't. But, I've got a child free by choice sister and so it doesn't really phase me when people don't have kids yet - no matter their occupation. I might ask some follow up questions about your philosophy on birth, but whether or not she's had kids in no way invalidates her as a m/w.

Mama to Monkeys said...

I think that's like saying a hospice nurse is better qualified to care for her patients if she's been under hospice care before.

I'm sure it brings a certain element of relief to many people to know (esp. those who are expecting a more hands-on approach) that her CP has been there, done that. But, really, the double standard kinda makes me want to gag.

Just keep being wonderful. They will come to realize soon enough the fact that your vag has never had a baby pass through it makes no difference in your awesomeness. : )

Anonymous said...

I think this may be that on a subtle level, women expect more from a midwife than from a doctor. Or perhaps they expect that a doctor's med school has made midwifery skills a moot point.

For one, I wouldn't necessarily ask a doctor (male or female) about whether or not s/he has children, because that's not what I'm paying them for, and I recognize that most of the time, s/he'll show up to catch and that's about it.

But I would expect a midwife to do more labor-sitting and real *attending* in labor, so would hope for a higher and better set of skills than from a doctor. That doesn't necessarily mean that she has to have given birth herself (although all of my midwives, birth attendants, doulas, assistant-midwives -- whatever they all were, were mothers). But it wouldn't hurt.

A home-birthing CNM friend of mine is the oldest of 12 children (and most of her parents siblings also have large families), but is herself unable to have any. I don't even want to think of the heartache she has had to endure -- and I know it has been incredibly tough, especially as her siblings have gotten married and had children. I think she's just as good a midwife even though she's never given birth, because "external" experience of helping so many women through labor, plus clinical knowledge and training, are helpful and important. Giving birth can help increase your internal and personal knowledge and experience, but it is only one piece to the puzzle.


Cooey's Mom said...

Hi. I'm a newbie to your blog so maybe I shouldn't comment here. But since you asked, maybe it's okay. I don't think that not having birthed a baby makes you an less capable of helping women have healthy and joyful birth experiences. I don't believe you have to have given birth to have a natural, intuitive ability to guide women. Even if you haven't had the experience personally, you are a still a woman and know a thing or two about how we all tick. Plus, experience with other women in birth is pretty amazing and wisdom-giving of itself. If you had gone through it yourself, it would give you an additional dimension to your ability to empathize and relate, but I don't think giving birth is the only way to make a connection with birthing women. I'm sure that the women who ask you are just looking for ways to relate and, hopefully, are not asking as a way to decide if you are "worthy" of helping them during their births. So there's my $.02, for what it's worth.

Jill said...

No. I've known a midwife who had the most amazing, gentle bedside manner who did not yet have children. I've known a midwife who had three kids and was a cold bitch to her patients. I do think having kids of your own can give you more perspective, but it certainly doesn't mean you are automatically a better midwife than one who doesn't, or vice versa.

Kelly said...

Just to play devil's advocate, perhaps it is the nature of the communication from and expecations of doctors versus midwives that trigger the question in the minds of their patients. I probably can't express this the way it seems to make sense in my head, but if physicians are more focused on the "medical model" of birth, communicating things to their patients like what pitocin will do for labor, offers of epidurals, risks and benefits of different procedures, etc...then I suspect whether that doc has given birth rarely enters a patient's mind.

On the other hand, midwives could perhaps be described as more interested in helping MOM control the events surrounding her infant's birth, which I think it's fair to say calls on the patient to take a much more active role in the process and, in some instances, to "deal with" or work through labor pain, rather than have that pain reduced or eliminated by medical intervention.

In other words, I have a vague sense of physician-assisted birth being largely "controlled" (to the extent we control birth) by the doctor, while midwife births require much more (brave) action and participation by the patient herself. This, I suspect, perhaps translates at first to heightened fear and apprehension, as the mother begins to question whether she is up to the challenge (even if it was her choice to begin with; we all have doubts). That insecurity could trigger more defensive behavior, such as the questions you get. "You want me to do what!? That will help my pain how!? Do you have children? Did this help you?"

I'm not disagreeing with you, just wondering if there is more to it than meets the eye.

delilah, the unruly helpmeet said...

With my first pregnancy, I asked my OB, and when I dumped her for a midwife, I asked my midwife. Her answer was no, and it didn't bother me, and she was great. With my second pregnancy, I would have thought it was a silly question. I think first-time moms especially are hoping for all the experience they can get, from both sides of the pushing.

Perhaps the dichotomy arises because women who choose midwives seem to want a more natural, touchy-feely experience where having been in labor would seem more applicable, while folks who choose doctors are happy for the medical knowledge and not expecting quite the same amount of labor support?

Emily said...

I completely agree, it is a double-standard. And not only do women not care whether or not their OB has had children, they most often have MALE OBs, who have never even had so much as a menstrual cramp.

I think the reason for the double-standard is because in a home birth, women expect to have to manage labor without drugs, so they want a care provider who knows how to help them accomplish that. I think many women feel that a woman needs to have experienced labor herself in order to be better able to understand how to help another going through it.

Conversely, most women birthing in hospitals don't expect to have to manage labor. And even if they want to try to manage labor, they know they have drugs to fall back on if it gets "too much." AND even if they make it all the way through labor without drugs, the doctor won't even have been there throughout the labor, so his/her experience with labor is moot.

FTR, I think it is silly to say that only a woman who has gone through labor can properly support a laboring woman. For one thing, every labor is different, so even if your midwife had experience 10 labors of her own, your labor still might be completely different.

Secondly, every woman is different. I've been through 4 labors myself, and I still would have NO idea how to support another woman in labor. That kind of compassion and mothering is a true personality gift, not a learned trait.

Lastly, what constitutes a good birth attendant is empathy, kindness, compassion, knowledge, training, experience, and a good head on her shoulders, none of which have anything to do with having kids of her own.

(p.s. There is a midwife in my area who has no children, and she is quite popular, so clearly other people think the same way I do.)

Paula said...

Dear CNM,
A midwife and a nurse can offer empathy. Empathy mixed with the confidence that, hey, I know that hurts, but you are made of tough stuff, birthing Momma, you can do it. That is not typically expected from MDs. In other words, you also have the ability to comfort.

I think that your point that Midwives are more accessible is apt. They are. The conversations are longer. The couple is thinking about childbearing in some capacity and they want to know what your personal experience is. You don't have personal experience carrying and birthing a child, but you have attended tons and tons of births that inform your every move. My feeling is that people are trying to connect, not assess your capabilities.

In the field of breastfeeding, it seems very important what folks chose to do themselves. I see again and again that though lip service is paid to the benefits of breastfeeding, the authority (nurse on pp ward) will fall back on her own experience. I mean, she might say, "I tried to breastfeed and it just didn't work for me, or I didn't have enough milk, and my son got formula. Look, isn't he cute!"

There can be an overt or implied message about how it can work out any way you swing it, formula didn't hurt my baby! that isn't always helpful when Moms are so wide open.

But back to your post, I don't see that with midwives. Midwives seem to really see women as individuals worthy of respect. You have worked so hard to get where you are. It might be good to think of how you want to answer the question about your maternal status so that you don't feel criticised each time. I believe the question will come with each couple.

ps. when I saw my ob last time, I asked if she had kids. I was just being curious and conversational...

solemom said...

The student midwife who caught my baby had not had any children, and I had absolutely no qualms about her ability to care for me, and to help me through my labour.

I would imagine that people would worry about a possible lack of empathy - you don't know what it feels like, so you can't *really* understand and help - but that's somewhat ridiculous, in my opinion. Labour is different for every woman. Having gone through a very quick (4 hrs from waters breaking to born) natural labour, I have no idea what a prolonged labour feels like to someone - does that mean I can't empathize? Nah.

I've been, and I'd be fine in the future with a midwife who has not had his/her own children.

Baker said...

There is a midwife at the practice I go to and I don't think she is a mother, but she of all the doctors and midwives (all are mothers) has been the most careful and caring with me. This last prenatal exam, which again ended with a miscarriage, was careful due to my age to check my thyroid gland for goiter, to carefully assess my breast tissue (and sent me to have a mammogram), and listen and talk to me with compassion. I also remember when she was new to the clinic and I was 41+ weeks with my 2nd she was careful and tender with the internal exam and just in general.

For this young woman (she is younger then I) I know that her natural state is tender and caring to other people, that whether or not she is a mother or experienced birth I know she'd be watching me and my body and unifying what she sees with her experience and knowledge to help me do what I needed to do in birth (if she attended a birth of mine).

I don't think birthing is a requirement of being a good midwife. Sometimes I wonder that since birth can be so individual that perhaps it's not a good thing to use one's own birth experience to build one's knowledge of birth to aiding patients. But that's me, I also know that solidarity is sometimes helpful too so there is also validity to the argument that it's better to have given birth when aiding others in birth. In the end it's manner and temperament most to me when finding someone I can work with.

Stephen said...

My fantastic midwife has only an adopted son. I don't know if she was ever pregant and I never asked. I don't think the fact that she has probably not given birth affected her care in any negative way. I couldn't have asked for a more compassionate and knowledgable care provider.
There are so many terrible people out there who have kids- having one does not automatically make you a kind or empathetic person.
I think if you are empathetic, compassionate, and kind that is enough.
I did however ask my OB (who I later switched from) if he had any children.

Courtney said...

Absolutely not! I would want a midwife who is compassionate, thoughtful, and loves her craft...which all perfectly describes you.

lostinrain said...

I have given this post a lot of thought. While I don't think giving birth herself makes a better midwife, I do think it is a valid question to ask a midwife during an interview. The difference between a doctor and a midwife, is that a doctor is more a "talking head" that doles out prescriptions and advice. A midwife is a partner in a healthy birth. She is going to spend a whole lot more time with a woman--a family--than an OB ever will. It is important that the woman feels comfortable with a midwife on a personal level. Since the care a midwife provides is holistic, part of that is helping a new mother overcome fears. Some women may not believe the midwife if the midwife has not gone through labor herself. I think it is similar to some women preferring a distinctly Christian midwife to a secular one. If you are going to be spending 30+ hours with someone (including office visits) you are going to want to feel comfortable chatting with that person; and being able to get value out of the midwife's help.

Real said...

I think that you have a better edge as a careprovider if you've experienced birth yourself, not that giving birth makes you a better careprovider than someone who hasn't.

I also think that asking that question isn't meant to necessarily assess how qualified or good a midwife is. I think the question is asked out of an emotional need to be reassured that birth IS doable. Especially if this is your first time giving birth. You know what I mean? The woman wants to know that other women get through it and there's nothing to fear.

And if you're right that midwives get asked more often than female doctors, my guess is that midwives deal with women giving birth without anesthetic and who would need more of that emotional reassurance. In my limited experience, the women who go in for their high tech births with an OB are more likely to turn over their birth experience from the get-go and therefore don't need the emotional reassurance because the doctor is just going to handle everything.


Ciarin said...

I rarely am asked if I have children, did I give birth naturally, etc. I think most of my clientele are wrapped up in their births and lives, not that interested in mine...which is as it should be. I think the difference between asking female doctors and asking midwives is due to the different and more personal relationship that we have with women. Kinda like what you said :)

I don't think that midwives who have given birth are any more qualified to give care than those who haven't. We all get the same knowledge when we go to school. I think the only difference comes in being able to relate to someone on a more personal note if you have 'walked in their shoes'. An example would be, I have experienced preterm labor and mag...therefor I can relate to someone in that same situation. I know what the mag fulls like, I know how scary it feels to wonder if your child will be ok, etc.

If you feel uncomfy with answering their questions, you may try sidestepping by saying that this isn't about you, it's about them and their experience.

SuSuseriffic said...

Hey Delilah, I had a HBAC and had no intrest in a "touchy-feely experience" .... I just wanted to be left alone (mostly) and talked to with respect. That is why I chose a homebirth with a midwife

Amanda & Michael Brown said...

This is a tough one for me. I'm becoming a midwife as an older professional, having worked in public health (international reproductive health) for years. I've ALWAYS wanted to be pregnant and have a number of children, as well as adopt.

Just so happens that I was recently told by my immunologist that pregnancy might be a difficult way to go for me. I was devastated, to say the least.

A small, but significant, part of my devastation is wondering: will I be less effective as a midwife? Will women lack confidence in me if I'm not able to get/stay pregnant/birth naturally (all possibilities with this news)? I hope not. I'm skilled, wise, compassionate. Trust and honesty are of foremost importance to me.

I'm glad to see a lot of folks saying "no" to this question. I hope that will be true for me when I'm a midwife, in the case that pregnancy isn't in my cards.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely not. In our history of midwifery class, one of my favorite midwives, one who is childless, explained that childless women were often the midwives traditionally because they can leave at all times of night and be gone for hours without leaving young children behind.

I have known wonderful childless midwives. I am sure there are wonderful childless ob/gyns, male and female, too.

Carol said...

This is an answer to a different question, but all the female doctors I've had (of all varieties, not just ob/gyn) have volunteered whether or not they have children. My breast surgereon told me she had children - I didn't ask. My primary care doc - told me. My dermotologist told me. So there may possibly be a different level of personal disclosure between women.

Just a thought. Some of it could be me.