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Would you want your midwife to have experienced pregnancy and childbirth?

(75 Posts)
Moomina Tue 08-Feb-05 19:07:58

Following on from a couple of comments on another thread, and a conversation I had today with a friend - in real life! - do you think it makes a difference if midwives are also mothers?

lucy5 Tue 08-Feb-05 19:11:20

Yes yes resoundingly yes. I was looked after, attended to call it what you will by a 40 year old childless health visitor, who didnt like children, I never saw her touch a baby. My midwife was about 12 and told me not to make so much noise, snotty nosed little bitch. I cant wait for the day that she gives birth, poor fool.

Twiglett Tue 08-Feb-05 19:15:17

Not bothered .. but it would have been nice if she'd done more than grunt at me, then take my DH and DD out of the operating theatre (c-section) 5 minutes after birth so she could catch up on paperwork leaving me on my own being stitched up for 40 minutes

(I really must write to complain about that as its bothering me more each passing month )

Tessiebear Tue 08-Feb-05 19:16:36

YES - for me personally it makes a difference (i feel the same if not stronger about Health Visitors)

Lonelymum Tue 08-Feb-05 19:17:54

Well, in my naivity, before I had children, I thought it was an actual requirement for m/ws to be mothers and was surprised to find out that wasn't the case, but now I am 4 babies down the line, no, it doesn't really bother me. A lawyer doesn't have to have committed a crime to defend a burglar, so I suppose a m/w can deliver babies without actually having delivered her own.

Joolstoo Tue 08-Feb-05 19:17:55

there's nothing worse (believe me) than a childless midwife telling you to 'RELAX!!!!!'

prunegirl Tue 08-Feb-05 19:18:07

Message withdrawn

Lonelymum Tue 08-Feb-05 19:21:55

Oh no, age doesn't have to matter. The best m/w I saw by a mile (and I have had dealings with at least 20 or more) was the young student midwife who delivered my dd. She was everything you think of a midwife to be: cool, calm, quiet, reassuring, kind, inspirational, gentle, non judgemental.... I couldn't believe she still had 2 years of training to go. It was hard to see what more she needed to know.

Amanda3266 Tue 08-Feb-05 19:23:44

Hmmmm! Not sure on this at all. It's a difficult one. Some midwives are naturally supportive and empathetic whether they've had children or not. Others are just not supportive at all. The best support I had when in labour was from a childless and newly qualified midwife who really looked after me and mothered me (despite being an obvious 20 years younger)
I was avoided by many of the midwives mainly (I think) because I'd been a midwife myself and they were nervous so sent the most inexperienced young midwife in - "you can look after her" - and bless her, she did.
Can't stand midwives that tell anyone in that much pain to:

"Stop making all that noise"
"Put your bottom down on the bed" - Surely lifting the bum increases the pelvic outlet?
"You're not pushing hard enough"


How on earth can a health visitor not like children? The mind boggles - I love them - especially the pre-school ones of 4 who have learned to be highly suspicious of anyone in a doctor's surgery. Real touch and go whether they will comply with the request that we weigh them and measure their height.

lucy5 Tue 08-Feb-05 19:23:45

I think im bitter and twisted due to the cows I had when I gave birth to dd, I dont think it really matters but I would prefer it.

SoupDragon Tue 08-Feb-05 19:24:03

Makes no difference to me. Everyone's labour and pregnancy are different anyway. Having a midwife who is not a mother is just the same as having one who is a mother and who gave birth easily. Especially if you're not finding it weasy.

prunegirl Tue 08-Feb-05 19:24:49

Message withdrawn

Amanda3266 Tue 08-Feb-05 19:25:06

Yeah - lonleymum - it's often the least experienced midwives who are the best.

SeaShells Tue 08-Feb-05 19:28:44

Yes I think so, mothers have that experience that is impossible to teach someone. A midwife can be a lovelly nice person, and very good at her job, but there's no better way to know what expectant/new mums are going through than because you have lived through it yourself!

Lonelymum Tue 08-Feb-05 19:30:30

Amanda, perhaps you would have liked to have dealt with my soon-to-be two year old today at his two year check? The (student) HV gave him a doll and asked him to feed her her breakfast from a cup with a spoon. Ds3 (male all through) just looked at her (the HV) as if she was crazy! Sorry, don't mean to hijack thread.

Amanda3266 Tue 08-Feb-05 19:31:52

- love kids - they're just so funny aren't they. My DS pushed a dolls pram round but roughly evicts the "baby" first.

helsi Tue 08-Feb-05 19:34:44

I wouldn't be bothered. I suppose its only like a doctor treating you for something s/he's never had. They know what medication and processes to go through to make you better but they don't have to have had the illness.

Moomina Tue 08-Feb-05 19:42:07

I have to say I'm divided on this myself. Rationally, I think 'No, what matters is the ability to be supportive and caring and you can do that if you haven't had children yourself.' And, emotionally, I think that shared experience is vital for understanding and support - Mumsnet being a case in point!

I didn't expect so many of you to say yes, though. So what do we think of the idea put forward recently by Michel Odent (birth guru) that not only should all midwives be mothers, but they should only be those who have experienced entirely natural childbirth (i.e. no drugs, no medical interventions)??

(Btw, am not writing an essay on this - just curious! )

FrenchGirl Tue 08-Feb-05 19:43:28

I don't mind and have no idea whether any of my midwives were mums! Only problem I had was a student midwife trying to help me breastfeed and it wasn't working, but she got help from an experienced one and it worked. It's a matter of being good at your job or not.

SoupDragon Tue 08-Feb-05 19:48:06

What help is a midwife who has only experience of "naural" childbirth going to be to someone who needs the full works?

SoupDragon Tue 08-Feb-05 19:49:09

Frenchgirl, oddly enough my experience was different. The student midwife was fab at helping me breastfeed, the "older more experienced" ones were cr*p!

philippat Tue 08-Feb-05 19:49:49

lord no, best mw I had wasn't and the fact that I currently have toothache worse than my labour pains is proof that labour is different for everyone.

Think you should to be a birth guru, though... For goodness sake, don't we have enough trouble recruiting mw these days without demanding the impossible of them Mr Odent?!

happymerryberries Tue 08-Feb-05 19:51:39

I don't think that it matters. Think of all the awful MIL and mothers that people have discussed on MN. They have all had kids but it didn't make them sensitive, caring or in some cases even, sane!

Dh sees a consultant haematologist for his CLL. I don't expect that doctor to have leukemia to be good at her job. Why whould I expect it of a MW?

charleypops Tue 08-Feb-05 19:52:39

OMG lucy5 - I can't believe she called you a snotty nosed little bitch I hope you complained!!

motherinferior Tue 08-Feb-05 19:52:44

Oh bloody hell, imagine having a midwife who HAD had a marvellous natural birth and couldn't see what you were fussing about???

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