Birth/Rebirth: The Call of Midwifery
Guest Post by Sara
Sara, a native of San Francisco, is currently living in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is working as a midwife’s apprentice as she completes her specialization at the Midwives College of Utah.
Many are called, but few are chosen.
I have been called to the work of midwifery. I did not choose this calling – it chose me. It was, however, up to me to answer the call. I was fortunate to witness birth for the first time at the age of 14. Ever since that day in November, I felt changed. As I navigated my way through my teenage years and on into college, I was fortunate to be able to view women as strong beings, not weak or submissive creatures. I had seen the power that a woman in labor can possess. Not only did I see it, I felt it. It was this feeling that eventually led me to begin my apprenticeship to become a midwife.
While so much of what I do is physically and academically taxing, there is a great spiritual reward. I feel a spiritual buoyancy as I learn of midwives that have gone before me, my foremothers. There is legacy left by our foremothers. Many nights, as a keeper of the night, I feel their support. I also feel that I must uphold a reverence for the love of the female form. I must respect all women, welcome all children, embrace all partners. This is not an easy task- and I am not alone.
I remember when I first learned of one of our foremothers and fellow midwife, Ellis Reynolds Shipp. Ellis was one of the first female doctors in Utah, and founder of The School of Nursing and Obstetrics. She delivered over 5,000 babies and oversaw the training of nearly 500 licensed midwives. Ellis was a sanctifier of the female body. Last year, after being awoken in the early morning, I found myself talking with the grandmother in the home. This grandmother spoke of her great-grandmother, the very Ellis Reynolds Shipp. As this woman told me the title of her great-grandmother’s biography, I felt chills sweep over my body: ”While Others Slept.” There is no truer statement that sums up how I was feeling that afternoon, and how I have felt countless nights as I drive through the night, guided by our moon. While others sleep, the midwives work.
There is an entire world happening once the sun goes to sleep. As the moon rises, so do the midwives. The night is our time. It is not a scary time, but a time of revitalization and invigoration. It is a time when some of the most tender needs are attended to. It is a time when all other distractions are laid to rest, and the transformation of women from womanhood to motherhood is our number one priority.
I am a keeper of the night. But I am not alone. As birth is a female realm, it makes sense to my spirit that our Heavenly Mother’s influence is near. Our Heavenly Parents have entrusted me to welcome their children earthside, and Heavenly Mother is keeping watch. I feel her presence near. Sometimes I feel that the room is full, filled with hosts of Heaven. And sometimes I feel just our Heavenly Mother’s influence, leading me and guiding me as I welcome a new spirit to our earth, into our realm.
I am called to the work. And I must answer.