Midwife Connection: How Is Real Midwifery Practiced?

October 4-10 is National Midwifery Week!
Each year during National Midwifery Week, midwives across the US raise
awareness of the midwifery profession and the services provided to
women. RH Reality Check will be publishing a series of posts this week
from the American College of Nurse-Midwives blog, Midwife Connection,
to recognize this week – and the care midwives, Certified
Nurse-Midwives and Certified Professional Midwives, provide. Need a
quick Midwife 101? Read more.    

Editor’s Note from ACNM blog, Midwife Connection: In honor of National Midwifery Week, we asked Leslie Ludka to write an encore post based on her article “Are You Practicing Real Midwifery?” (click on the article for a sneak peak at Quickening, ACNM’s members-only newsletter!). Leslie is a regular columnist for Quickening and is Director of Midwifery at Cambridge Hospital and Birth Center in Cambridge, MA.

Whenever I think about midwifery as a career, I remember Sister Angela Murdaugh’s words: “Midwifery is a calling. If you do not believe that you were called, you should get out of midwifery.”

how do we know if we were called? Does it have to manifest in a
specific type of job in a specific type of setting? Is it only a
calling if we can’t wait to get up every morning and rush to work? Does
being financially successful make it a calling?

I’m not sure
about you, but for most of us, midwifery is neither easy nor lucrative.
In fact, there are times when midwifery is the hardest job in the
world—just ask any midwife to tell you the story of that case that
haunts her memories. We all have one. In fact, there are times when our
work is so difficult that no amount of money would attract most
rational people.

So, why would anyone choose midwifery? I
believe that Sister Angela has it right. Midwifery is not a choice; it
is a calling. We do not choose midwifery; midwifery chooses us. When I
went to midwifery school, I never asked if there would be a job for me
when I finished. I didn’t wonder how much money I would make. I know it
sounds crazy, but the truth is, it didn’t matter. Midwifery is my

A calling fulfills your personal mission in life. It
feeds your spirit by using your unique gifts and abilities to satisfy
your deep inner purpose. Following your calling means staying on the
path of that which you feel most passionate about, even when it is
difficult. A calling is about truly loving what you do.

As we celebrate National Midwifery Week, let’s honor the diversity of this amazing calling of midwifery by sharing with each other and our supporters. Tell
us, how has midwifery called you: clinical practice, education,
administration, or something else? How do you live your calling?

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  • carol-leonard

    Hi Leslie, Thanks for a great article! I have just returned from giving the Keynote address to the CNMs at the Yale School of Nursing this past Sunday (10/4/09) to help kick-off their National Midwifery Week celebrations, it was a BLAST! I presented my power point personal-photo journey “A Midwife’s Saga” that is in collaboration with my book, LADY’S HANDS, LION’S HEART (Bad Beaver Publishing, 2008)..it is an hour long presentation of the history of apprentice-trained midwifery in NH and in the US. I think it went swimmingly! anyway, I would love Love LOVE to do the same for the CNMs in the Boston area if you are having a similar event in the near future. Let me know if I could help in any way. THANKS & SMOOCH! Carol Leonard, BS, NHCM http://www.badbeaverpublishing.com