The birthing lineage of midwifery has thousands of years of history and yet there are precious few contemporary midwives who have centuries worth of wisdom behind them. I had the honor, however, of working with just such a group. These incredibly strong, talented, dedicated and sage group of midwives are now moving onto other paths: Lisa Chickadonz, Mary Dietrich, Linda Nelson, Wendy Berger, Becky Bruns. In my time with them I observed countless moments of sapient grace: hours-upon-hours of labor sitting steady at women's sides through countless contractions, babies caught in the hallway, on mats, single handedly; lightning fast intuitions to move a mother this way or that, offer up the perfect words of encouragement, or fill an anxious room with peaceful progress reports. I also watched them serve thousands of families low-cost efficient, high quality healthcare and contribute thousands more hours to diligent documentation-- all the while community building and innovating maternity models of care both with their medical teams and the community at large.
One successor asked jokingly if we could clone their hands. Alas, this is the bittersweetness, there is no way to extract the wisdom from their hands, the knowing from their hearts, the information from their brains in quite the same way as it came together for their years together. And yet this isn't always recognized in the business of healthcare where dollars drive decisions and value is based on productive billable minutes. We have an imperative to work towards sustainable models of healthcare for all members of the team, not only for the future of am families healthy start but for the collective wisdom bank of the sacred lineage of midwifery. It starts with honoring the incredible women who are our elders. Who has inspired you lately? Take them out to lunch, ask them what would make a difference, what is left undone, what is the biggest possible change we could work towards? Then get out there and Just Doula It!