'…it is a journey towards parenthood…'
“I always try to match the way I offer the maternity care to the needs of the whole family. There is so much more involved than just the pregnancy and childbirth: it is a journey towards parenthood. I think it is important to make people aware of the choices they make along the way.
Responding to the needs of a family can also involve everyday or rather unusual practicalities. For example, I was on duty during the King’s Day celebrations and a woman was giving birth in the city centre. Her street was jam-packed with people and the taxi did not want to come. It was a challenge to escort the woman to the hospital with her little son – who could not speak any Dutch and travelled with us in the ambulance. I spent some time with him blowing up balloons and reading books. These things are all part of being a midwife.”
'…The purity of women still baffles and touches me …'
“Having a baby can be compared to having sex. At least, the circumstances should be the same. It is all about surrendering yourself, going with the flow, so it really helps if you are not constantly disturbed. The purity of women still baffles and touches me. It is about something bigger, it is about the question: what do I want as a woman? This already starts during pregnancy. You sometimes really have to face up to yourself and your fears. We try to guide you through all this by focussing only on you. Eventually, you usually see that fears and inhibitions fall away; more and more women dare to be themselves. And by keeping an open mind, I continue to be surprised by the purity of life.”
'…This huge diversity of people; how wonderful is that?'
“After a number of experiences in other countries, I am glad that, here in the Netherlands, we focus on the woman behind the client. For me, that is exactly what makes our profession so unique: find out what someone needs because this varies greatly from person to person. To me, it is all about giving birth in an environment in which you feel safe; at home, in a hospital or at a birth centre. And if you believe that pain relief is part of what you want or need, then I will arrange it for you.
How can I be there for you? For me, that is the most important aspect of our profession. I do not just think in protocols. You can have the strangest experiences: I once did a woman’s delivery who ate a raw piece of the placenta afterwards and made bracelets of the umbilical cord. This huge diversity of people; how wonderful is that?”
'…You really build up a bond with a family, which I consider to be one of the extraordinary aspects of our profession. …'
“I enjoy sharing information, not only about giving birth but also about the time afterwards. The maternity period is not a bed of roses for everyone. I think it is important to also be open to discuss the expectations of that period.
As a midwife, you get a peek into a person’s life during the entire pregnancy and maternity period. You really build up a bond with a family, which I consider to be one of the extraordinary aspects of our profession. Being well-prepared for the maternity period and the right guidance when the time comes can really empower a family. This can make such a difference!”
'My purpose as a midwife is to partner with pregnant women to aim for a positive childbirth experience …'
“My purpose as a midwife is to partner with pregnant women to aim for a positive childbirth experience, so you can reflect on it in a positive way afterwards. During the antenatal check-ups, you build up a relationship of trust, which I believe is essential.
It is important that you, as a woman, have confidence in the whole process and that you dare to do what nature tells you to do. It helps if you know what to expect and following a pregnancy class can help you with this. Our centre offers a wide range of classes.
At the end of the course, there are always some expectant mothers who say: “I am actually looking forward to it!” I think that this is wonderful, especially it is said by those women who were first a bit apprehensive about the birth”.