Every woman interested or going though childbearing should consider attending a Midwifery Conference. There is something about being around Midwives…it makes me feel: soothed, accepted, and real. There is a zest for life that is tangible, you know you are in the presence of special women who are in service to women.
I have been attending Midwifery Today Conferences since 2003; 10 years of learning, being inspired, and transformed by amazing speakers and participants. This past April was my first time presenting at this conference. It had been a professional dream of mine to be nominated or invited, and I was! Thrill!
As happy and honored as I was, I also felt a lot of pressure. Some of the sessions that I had been assigned to were alongside Dr. Michel Odent, Gail Hart, and many other giant teachers in the childbirth field. It was important for me not to forget who I was, my education and experience, and also accept the reality I was the rookie. I found this opportunity to not only be anxiety provoking, but also exciting and rejuvenating of my spirit.
My presentations varied from Labor Support, The Roles of Midwives and Doulas, Birth as an Art, Doula Issues, and Global Midwifery. It was a fantastic experience, I learned so much, and was inspired to my very core.
One testimonial that moved me was of Angelina, a traditional Midwife from Mexico. Her story really helped me to reconnect with trust in birth. Angelina is a generational Midwife, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. Angelina attended her first birth alone at the age of 8! It was twins and the second one breech! She has been attending births all her life and yet she looks like a young girl and talks about birth with the excitement and amazement of a newbie. She trusts birth, along with the women who are birthing, and the wisdom of her ancestors. She spoke about herbs, about God, about touch, and compassion.
Another thoughtful testimonial from Sister Morning Star, a Cherokee Midwife spoke about respect for elders, respect for nature, and trusting in the skills of your hands. Midwife Gail Hart has close to 40 years experience. She spoke of scientific evidence based studies, and showed us how important it is for a homebirth Midwife to stay updated with all recent journal articles, and findings in the scientific arena regarding birthing. And Jan Tritten, the mother of Midwifery Today spoke about peaceful activism, the times we are living in, and how important each one of our roles are.
There was an entire session about placentas presented by Patricia Edmonds; I never realized how fascinating placentas are! What a unique, smart, and often misunderstood organ. She showed us many pictures of variations, and how much one can learn about both the woman’s and baby’s health by studying the placenta closely. She shared some incredible stories and rituals with placentas.
Other topics focused on included breeches, malpresentations and Gail Tully showed and explained many techniques in how to assist a baby in rotating into a perfect position.
There is more to share, and I will write about the provocative and undeniably focused Dr. Michel Odent in my next post. Let this be a taste of the incredible inspiration that I have received by being at these conferences and listening to these women. May you feel inspired to learn more about birthing and talking with your mate!
Ana Paula Markel ICCE, CD(DONA), Founder of BINIBirth, and PAM Advisor