Megan Rossiter (founder of Positively Birthing) In defence of midwives: for hypnobirthing Mums
I first found about Megan via her beautiful squares on her @oatcakeadventures Instagram. She has the sweetest little boy, who reminded me of my own son (so obviously I thought he was gorgeous). I then discovered her great obsession with birth, and was so excited when she made the bold decision to become a hypnobirthing teacher. Megan is as lovely IRL as she is on her squares, and I know that her work as a student midwife combined with her hypnobirthing experience must make her a fabulous teacher (find out more about her and her classes at the bottom of the blog).
There’s always been one part of working as a hypnobirthing teacher that I’ve found tricky. (For those that don’t know, as well as being a Mum and Hypnobirthing teacher, I’m also midway through my midwifery training.). A huge part of hypnobirthing teaching is talking to couples about ‘informed choice’, birth place and the many, many options there are around all aspects of pregnancy and birth. But for some reason, it often seems to become an Us (hypnobirthing mums) Vs. Them (Healthcare Professionals) mentality. So what do you when you are both? ‘Us’ AND ‘Them’?
And I think this is where it’s important to take a step back and look in from the outside. In my experience, 99% of midwives in an ideal world, would support mums to have an uninterrupted, calm, positive birth, where that woman is the centre of the experience, and end up with a healthy, happy baby and healthy, happy Mama. But, as the WHOLE of the internet and everyone you’ve ever met will tell you- that’s not always the case.
Yes, maternity wards are overstretched. Yes, the NHS is at financial breaking point. Yes, we live in a world of defensive practice and blame culture. But, on the whole, midwives LOVE birth! We WANT you to come in understanding what is happening to your body, what your options and preferences are, and thinking about how these options apply to your own situation.
Hypnobirthing mums are brilliant for midwives! There’s just not enough time in a 15 minute antenatal appointment to fully explain the mechanisms of birth, the hormones involved, the muscles, the bones, the physiology- so though we can explain the risks and benefits of say, an epidural or an induction, without pausing for a 3 hour Anatomy and Physiology lecture, there’s only so much understanding a mum can have, and that, in my opinion, is where the informed choice bit goes out the window. As mothers we need to stand up and take responsibility for what we’re getting ourselves into. When a hypnobirthing mum comes in, they KNOW all this! We will offer advice and recommendations, but most of all, we will SUPPORT you with whatever decision YOU make- because after all, you are the one making the decisions.
I do think training as a hypnobirthing teacher has put me in a position to better support hypnobirthing mums. But all Midwives are very malleable creatures, we will laugh and chat with the mum who’s opted for an induction with an epidural (Ok, I might still suggest dimming the lights and a back rub), and we will blend into the background for the mum who’s crouching on her bathroom floor, burning candles and embracing her partner. We are whatever you need us to be.
If there’s one thing you take from this, let it be that- it’s not a battle, we’re on the same team.
PS. If you’re unfortunate enough to end up with the 1% of midwives who might be less on board.. just ask for another one.. (no really.. do)
Megan Rossiter, Mum, Student Midwife, KG Hypnobirthing Teacher and founder of Positively Birthing.