Pregnancy and birth

Meeting a midwife

Last Thursday we had our first appointment at the obstetricians’ clinic, which involved spending an hour or so with one of the clinic’s staff midwives and sorting out all of the preliminary paperwork. I’m heading back next Friday to meet the actual obstetrician.

The midwife was a nice woman, but the whole experience totally reinforced for me that I’m not midwife kind of person. Her general approach was very cosy and chatty, and I imagine that it’s very comforting if you’re panicking about something and need a bit of reassurance. It isn’t quite so good if, like me, you actually want straight answers to specific questions.

I really wanted to get a good sense of what ‘typical’ twin pregnancies are like, in that clinic’s experience, so I was asking (what I assumed were) fairly unremarkable questions; things like “how close do most twins get to full term?” and “at how many weeks can you usually tell whether a natural birth might be possible, or whether a planned c-section will be required?”. Trying to get a decent answer was nigh on impossible – I found it pretty frustrating. And it wasn’t like she was unable to give me answers; it was more like she’d decided that I shouldn’t get bogged down with silly questions and should just relax. I suspect that it’s indicative of the whole ‘pregnancy and childbirth is entirely natural’ ethos that many midwives seem to follow, like she thought that hard facts might get in the way of the whole experience. And that’s all very well and good, but as the person going through the experience (and paying for her expertise), I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect answers to questions. In any event, my dogged persistence in refusing to be fobbed off meant that I did get some answers in the end. And I’ll just ask the obstetrician as well, and save any future questions for him.

One other hilarious/fairly scary midwife conversation ensued. We mentioned that we’d only moved back to NZ last year, and she asked how I’d found the settling in process. I said that it had been fine on the whole, although I’d really missed my lovely job and was looking forward to getting my new charity off the ground. The midwife responded by saying that I’d probably find that I didn’t really care about my career after the twins came along, and that being a mother was pretty much a woman’s ultimate calling. So that’s awesome: I’m glad that I’ve pretty much wasted my adult life until now.

She then turned to Tristan and told him that fathers really aren’t particularly important to the whole process, and that their main role is the earn the money. No, I’m not exaggerating for comic effect. This woman was 50 years old, but is clearly operating in the 1940s…

6 thoughts on “Meeting a midwife

  1. Oh my God, how bizarre! I hope you won’t have much interaction with that woman, she sounds like she’s arrived in a DeLorean with Marty McFly from 50 years ago.

  2. Oh dear! She sounds interesting! I certainly don’t ever remember an interaction like that when I first went to Shore Birth….however, as it was my second time and not twins, I probably didn’t need to ask many questions! From memory, you see a midwife briefly before each appointment, to get your blood pressure, etc, checked, and then you see the obstetrician.

  3. Oh my, she sounds…lovely. I think there’s too types of midwife – the nice, normal friendly types and the other ones. You know, the ones from 1955. Not what you’d expect from a woman working for an obstetricians clinic.

    1. Yep, I was fairly surprised as well. She was very nice, but I just found it so odd that she’d subject us to her very definite views on gender roles and parenting, with no knowledge of our situation/what might work in our household. For all she knew, I could out-earn Tristan by a huge margin and our plan could be for him to be a stay-at-home Dad while I headed out to rule the world!

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