I first encountered midwifery in a historical novel. I have always been an avid reader but as a 12 year old I was especially in love with historical fiction. In novels, authors always seemed to introduce a midwife at some point. I didn’t actually know all of a midwife’s responsibilities – from what I understood, they were present at births, they were usually a trusted confidante, they had a large role in the community. My current understanding of midwifery came years later.
I often feel my story is so different compared to other midwives. Despite my mother being a NICU nurse in Scarborough, I didn’t encounter birth at all when growing up, birth was very private (understandably so), it seemed like it always had to be in a hospital setting. This was my understanding of birth until I was 15 years old. In my 10th grade Careers class, a midwifery student came to my school to talk about the program. The first thing that drew me in was the idea of midwifery in Ontario today- I was starting to understand all that I had read in those historical novels years ago. I was immediately drawn to the role- I mean, who doesn’t want to have a job that involves babies?
When applying, I learned that the Ryerson midwifery program rarely takes students straight from high school and that they like for students to have some relevant life experience. I was quite naïve and inexperienced out of high school, to say the least. For that reason, I started to latch on to any opportunities to experience births. I initially got into the Ryerson Bachelors of Science in nursing program to get exposure in a healthcare field. The nursing program was quite eye-opening but it certainly did not prepare me for the hectic schedule, range of birth stories, rollercoaster of emotions that is becoming a midwife. It took nine more years from that 10th grade careers class for me to become a midwife and to really see that it is not just about playing with babies. I learned about midwifery’s emphasis on engaging in social justice and providing complete care for all. For this, I’m happy I stuck it through.