A friend loaned me a copy of The Arkansas Midwives’ Book of Choices, which is an absolutely beautiful creation. Basically, it’s an informative guide for women in Arkansas, gently educating them about midwifery and the options that midwifery provides. It starts with an overview of what a woman’s birth options are, then segues into who and what midwives are and how the Midwifery Model of Care differs from the obstetric model. The best part of the book, however, is the directory: not only does it list every practicing and available midwife in Arkansas (along with all of the requisite contact information), but each midwife is profiled with a gorgeous photo of her and a short synopsis of her views on birth, labor, pain, midwifery, etc. etc. The creators of this book went around and interviewed each and every one of these midwives, and the photographer was careful to capture their essence in each of their pictures. The photographs, in fact, are gorgeous, and the overall presentation just stunning. What a brilliant idea! When can we put something like this together for New York??
Anyway, several of the birth stories in here moved me to tears (no joke! …although I am probably predisposed to get weepy about this sort of thing). I thought I’d just share a few of the inspiring quotes from all of the midwives, for all the rest of you out there who tend to get weepy about these things too:
“I have a saying taped to my file cabinet that says, ‘Each new life I am a part of brings new meaning to my own.’ The more births I attend, the more that saying means to me. It seems nearly all of life is bound up in the act of giving birth: pain, joy, fear, patience, relief, commitment, power, helplessness, impatience, weakness and strength. I feel privileged to be able to be a part of life, not just the miracle of birth, but the lives of people, their families, history itself.” —Janessa Easley
On Power: “Birth changes the paradigm of power. We tend to associate power with ‘control.’ But in birth it is the ‘surrender’ that gives us the power.” —Ida Darragh
On Pain: “Pain is part of the birthing process. you can never experience real triumph if you do not have to do something to get to that point.” —Charlene Raley
On Pregnancy: “Pregnancy involves a woman’s whole life, not just her uterus.” —Jennifer Creel
On Birth: “There is a saying among midwives: birth is as safe as life gets. How do we know birth will be safe? We don’t. What we do know is that birth is a natural function of the female body,a nd that it works best without artificial intervention in the natural process.” —Barbara Muller