This Mother’s Day—my first with three daughters—I can’t help but think of their birthdays and the midwives who helped us along the way. With three girls, I’m careful about cultivating an attitude of confidence around the birth experience because how we experience birth can affect us for the rest of our lives.
As my daughters grow up, they will certainly be bombarded with frightening images in the media: a couple panicking as they speed to the hospital, a mother screaming and swearing at her husband, and a doctor performing an emergency maneuver and saving the day. That’s sort of how my first birth went, after all.
But I want my daughters to know the truth: more often than we realize, giving birth can be safe, empowering, and peaceful. This is something I learned when I had my second daughter, and I entrusted my care to the team of midwives at In Due Season.
My first appointment was nothing like I’d ever experienced in a medical setting. I sat on a comfortable couch with two midwives and told the story of my hospital birth—a difficult process that started with an induction and ended with an emergency cesarean. I was nervous about meeting with midwives at all. I wondered if it was risky, if I was eligible for a home birth, if I could have a natural birth after a cesarean. Most of all, I wondered if I would have the strength to even try.
Every single midwife spent as much time as I needed addressing my concerns, answering my questions, and encouraging me. Some appointments felt less like physical examinations and more like therapy, as they walked me through what happened before—and why it wouldn’t happen again. The midwives’ office came to feel less like a doctor’s office and more like a second home. The more I learned about physiologic childbirth—a natural birth without medical interventions—the more confident I became. My midwives trusted my body to give birth, and, eventually, I believed it, too.
When the time finally came, I was ten days past my due date. My midwives kept me calm and reassured me that my baby would come when she was ready. I felt like my biggest fear might come true—maybe my body really didn’t know what to do. What if my irregular contractions never progressed to true labor? But in the end, the midwives were right. My water broke early one morning, and labor started for real. My second baby was born safely at home, in the presence of my loving husband, a watchful birth assistant, and a skilled midwife.
A year and a half later, I had the first inkling that I was pregnant with baby number three. I wanted to know right away, so I bought the fanciest-looking digital pregnancy test at the drugstore. When I used it, it immediately flashed that definitive word: Pregnant.
I had a lot of questions. Would we be able to fit three car seats in the back of our small car? Would we need to move to a bigger house? Would we have a third girl, or would we break our streak with a boy?
There was one thing I knew with certainty: I had to call the midwives.
I faced a lot of unknowns. But I did not have the same anxiety I had before. I knew that I could have another powerful, safe birth experience—because I trusted my body and my providers.
Sure enough, my third daughter was born at home the following year. In those nine months, I spent my time worrying about the pandemic, buying a new car, trying to succeed at my new job, and sending my kids to day care for the first time—but I never had to worry about my birth. I knew that when I was supported by people who believed in me, I could get through pregnancy and birth and come out feeling more powerful and confident than before. With my team of trustworthy, compassionate midwives, I knew that I could do it all over again.
After giving birth to my three daughters, I have the confidence and strength I need to raise them—and in many ways, raising them is the hardest part. Because I had midwives that helped me find my power and listen to my intuition, I know that I can face any challenge that comes my way in birth—and in life.