Witnessing normal: Elizabeth’s story as a Home Birth Midwife

After 26 years as a midwife, now I love it more than ever. I am fulfilling my dream of being able to offer homebirth to well women. This is why I became a midwife all those years ago.

Taking this step has prompted me to delve even more deeply into the art and science of midwifery. I have found great support from other wonderful, loving, wise and experienced midwives with whom I work.

The relationships that grow during the pregnancies have given me such a beautiful insight into the profound ways that birth can enhance parenthood, and gift the baby, the mother, the partner and siblings with deep connections, acceptance and love.

Why I love being able to offer home birth services

Over the months of pregnancy we meet together in your home. We have time to get to know each other, a trust develops. We have time to talk about what matters. I love getting to know my clients and find out your story. We can talk through hopes and fears. My wish is that we understand each other and that we all approach this birth with knowledge and faith in your body’s ability to birth your baby.

Each birth has taught me something more. I have learned about the breadth of “normal”. Normal hardly gets seen in hospital because we are always measuring which equates to restricting. When I am with a woman in home birth I wait while labour achieves its own rhythm, in the woman’s own individual way. Some come fast and furious, some come gradually building to a crescendo, some seem to dawdle and stall, stop and start. Some women are quiet, some are still, some dance. Babies enter the world quietly or yelling out lustily “I am here!”. All the babies love and look for their mother’s skin.

More and more deeply, I realise that women can birth and my job is to hold the space, to recognise and let them know that this is ok, things are happening as they should. ‘Yes, this is what happens”. Meanwhile I see women labour and birth best with the person they love the best.

I see your partner rise to the challenge of connecting with you more intimately in a new and unique way. Your partner finds a different strength in that connection, that validates your strength, encouraging and loving you the mother as you work your way through your unique challenge toward birth.

I know that families are designed in many ways but for male partners I witness a wondrous sight, as fathers find a different meaning of strength, in the love and beauty of their masculinity.

I am the guest in your house, in a privileged and special position. You have asked for my expertise but not for my interference. I wait and listen very carefully. My ears may be my most useful equipment.

In the weeks before, we have talked about what the mother wants, what you expect of each of your supporters. I have explained the things that I want to do as part of my midwifery role. I do these things as unobtrusively as possible and only with permission. I know that you, the mother, needs to feel safe and loved for your body to function best.

And then the baby will come, welcomed with love into baby’s own home. Everyone can stay together. We can take our time. Families can do things in your own way in the privacy and security of your own place. Mothers and babies first precious time together is undisturbed.

The profound effect of this is immense.



About the Author:

My husband Louis and I have two lovely teenagers. I am a midwife. In 2013 after 25 years in midwifery, I finally followed my dream to independent practice as a homebirth midwife. The heart of my midwifery practice is respect for women as individuals, whose pregnancy and birth experiences benefit from knowledge, compassion, security and encouragement. My privilege is to be with women and their families, as they recognise their strength and ability to grow and birth their babies.