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Am I unreasonable to want a mature midwife who's had children?

(46 Posts)
bobthetomato Thu 04-Jun-15 23:07:25

First of all, I don't at all mean to insult all those highly-capable, hardworking, well-trained young midwives out there.

They are doing an excellent and vital job.

I'm just having a hormonal rant here.

With my first three pregnancies, the midwives I had were all older than me, and each of them had had children themselves. We had an excellent rapport, and they were able to speak to me from a place of shared experience. They were absolutely wonderful.

However, now with my fourth, perhaps because nine years have passed since my first pregnancy, every single midwife I've met (three so far) is almost young enough to be my own daughter. None of them have birthed children yet.

They have been lovely, professional, and kind, but I just feel unable to connect with them. Today I met two of them at the same time, and tried to talk through some of my apprehensions concerning my meeting with my consultant gynaecologist, who I feel is pushing me down a more medicalised route than I want.

They listened, but I just felt there was no real understanding of what I was trying to share.

It could just be a personality thing, and the fact that they are so young and haven't experienced pregnancy might have nothing to do with the fact that I'm failing to connect and communicate, and that I feel a lack of support and sympathy.

Having said that, the midwife who delivered my third baby hadn't had children either, and she was phenomenal. I couldn't have asked for anyone better.

So my issue isn't so much with the ones who help with the birth, but with the antenatal care, when I just want someone to talk to. Perhaps I just have an overly romanticised idea of the midwife as an older wise woman, a mentor almost, leading others down a path which she has travelled herself.

Am I unreasonable? Silly? Unfair? Ageist? Hormonal? Or all of the above?

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Thu 04-Jun-15 23:08:22

All of the above, but understandably smile

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Thu 04-Jun-15 23:09:28

I meant to say, I would have wanted Trixie from Call the Midwife even though she hadn't had children

spillyobeans Thu 04-Jun-15 23:13:05

You could ask for someone else/ a different doctor? Maybe its just those particular ones rather than their age/lack of children?

bobthetomato Fri 05-Jun-15 00:27:33

Thanks for the reality check. smile You're probably right, and it's a personality thing. We'll probably be moving before the baby comes, so hopefully I'll be able to find a midwife I can connect with!

spillyobeans Fri 05-Jun-15 00:32:02

No harm in asking for someone else if you feel youd connect better, especially when your not being mean or anything!

KatharineClifton Fri 05-Jun-15 00:46:24

The only midwife at the hospital that was in any way caring was a trainee.

Ask to see somebody other than your consultant. I refused mine as he was awful, and saw his deputy instead who was far better.

BlueBee Fri 05-Jun-15 05:33:40

I honestly think it depends on the individual. Some younger midwifes may be more in touch with the latest research and be more inclined to be progressive. Some older midwifes may be of the mindset of 'in my day' or 'when I gave birth it was like this .... ' . It really can go either way I think and is all about the individual midwife and being lucky to get one that you click with. Good luck. Either way you will be ok.

Feminstsahm Fri 05-Jun-15 05:40:55

My worse midwife by far was the one just back from maternity leave. I'd concentrate on getting a consultant you like though as that will affect your birth.

HoggleHoggle Fri 05-Jun-15 05:43:24

The nicest midwife when I gave birth was a trainee. She was the only one who noticed that I was utterly shellshocked by the birth, bordering on traumatised quite frankly, and she made a point of coming to find me on her next shift to see how I was doing. I really appreciated it. All the other midwives reactions were more 'you've had a baby, what do you expect?'. I'm all for tough love but I did find some of the more experienced midwives were totally blasé about the effect a bloody long and painful labour can have on someone.

originalusernamefail Fri 05-Jun-15 06:05:50

In the kindest possible way I think you are being unreasonable, but that may be because I am a critical care nurse and (I hope) I'm glad I haven't needed to have been near death to do my job!

Even if someone has had children of their own they don't have any insight about what it's like to be you. I'm currently pregnant and it's my second HG pregnancy, by far and away when I've met with unsympathetic attitudes it's from older women with their own children ' in my day we had no choice but to work through a bit of nausea' angry. During my first labour I was looked after by an experienced midwife and a third year student. The student was phenomenal, she put me at ease, explained everything, checked I understood, whereas the older midwife was rough and unfriendly.

It may be you just don't gel with your current midwives and a new one would be beneficial to you but I don't think you should rule them out based on age / life experience.

shiteforbrains Fri 05-Jun-15 06:10:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmethystMoon Fri 05-Jun-15 06:14:17

I totally understand how you feel, but in my experience the you get childless midwives were much nicer and effective.
They weren't restricted by their own experience but had really open minds from all they had seen other experience. The older ones, with one amazing exception were not that great at really listening to me.
I also agree it's a personality 'thing', probably more than anything else.
Good luck!

AmethystMoon Fri 05-Jun-15 06:14:45

Younger not you get!

shushpenfold Fri 05-Jun-15 06:14:55

Honestly - the best midwife I had with mine was the one who had not given birth. She also did not give me a running litany on how some women made too much fuss, ending with the immortal words 'Ive had three and I didn't shout'. I was tempted to see what type of pain might make her!

MadameJosephine Fri 05-Jun-15 06:24:26

Before I trained as a midwife I would have agreed with you. In my cohort of students there were quite a few without children of their own and at the time I thought 'what would they know about having children' but honestly, it makes no difference at all. A midwife who has had a child has only experienced HER birth, not yours. In fact I have come across a couple of people whose practice has actually been negatively affected by their own births as they had a very easy time and then couldn't understand why anybody else made such a fuss about it!

Cassie258 Fri 05-Jun-15 06:31:22

People young enough to be your daughter (ie old enough to have finished their degree so 21) are old enough to have kids. Age is nothing in this situation!

What if the mature friendly midwife had an elective section and knows nothing of natural birth? Which category would she fall into?

I absolutely agree with what you're saying. I don't think you can be the best midwife until you've gone through it (but I don't think that it's acceptable I think that) but the midwife may never have had a birth like yours and cannot empathise any more than the midwife that has no kids.

I had 20 hours of labour after induction and my waters broken manually. I got to a huge 4cm when they rushed me off shouting 'code blue, crash team'.

I know nothing of natural birth and the feeling of pushing. I'm not sure what help I could be in that situation.

RockerMummy184 Fri 05-Jun-15 07:53:57

Are we talking about community midwives or the midwife at the hospital who will deliver your baby?

I'm not sure it works the same where you are but in my trust we are assigned the 1 midwife that covers our surgery for general antenatal appointments and the midwife who will deliver your baby is whoever is on shift at the time.

My community midwife is less than useless. Its the same one I had when I had DS and although she's had children herself and is probably old enough to be my mum, she just doesn't seem to care. Everything is a paperwork exercise and there is no caring/empathy there at all.

However the 2 midwives I had who were there for my loooong awful labour with DS were in their early 20s, no children of their own and fantastic.

I felt that due to their age they were more enthusiastic and made much more of an effort to engage with me as a person. They were also way more interested in how my baby was; it seemed like the novelty of working with new babies every day was still there for them, whereas my community midwife saw us as another stack of paperwork.

I don't think it's age related at all I just think you haven't found anyone you click with yet.

StonedGalah Fri 05-Jun-15 07:59:01

I've never seen the same midwife twice and this is my second pregnancy. I'm in London and l find it all very disconnected. They only know me through my notes.

Do people really get to build a rapport with their mw?shock

Wenglish Fri 05-Jun-15 09:21:22

My first was delivered (supervised obviously) by a student midwife. She was awesome!

Totally understand your concerns. My community midwife doesn't even bother to contact me!

lauraa4 Fri 05-Jun-15 12:31:42

I think it's down to personal preference and how you connect with certain people. If it's really bothering you that much then you should speak to them and see if you can change.

I'm having my first baby and my midwife is young, and also hasn't had children but I trust her very much. I have found that the younger staff at my local maternity hospital are much easier to connect with than some of the older ones. In fact I would say that a lot of the older staff, especially when I have called into the day unit have been quite rude and made me feel silly for calling.

Regardless of whether or not a midwife as had her own children she still knows how to deliver someone else's baby.

bobthetomato Fri 05-Jun-15 23:25:54

Regardless of whether or not a midwife as had her own children she still knows how to deliver someone else's baby.

That's obvious, and not really in dispute. smile

My issue is more about the ones I've been meeting in antenatal care, when I've got stuff on my mind that I want to discuss. I was just so disappointed with the support I got, after waiting weeks to talk to my midwife about things that had been worrying me.

My earlier midwives were able to share feelings and experiences from their own pregnancies and births, which my current ones just can't do. The discussion often went further, to talking about, for example, how to manage a newborn while you have a toddler.

I guess I miss that combination of personal experience, clinical training, rapport, and empathy. Perhaps I've been spoiled and got used to having midwives with the "full package," as it were!

But I agree that the bigger problem I'm having with my current midwives is not their youth or lack of childbearing experience, but more a failure to connect. That's probably not their fault either, but more like a personality mismatch between us.

I'll just content myself with the clinical care they're highly competent at giving, and seek the emotional "sisterhood" support elsewhere.

Roseybee10 Fri 05-Jun-15 23:43:59

Maybe it's just those particular midwives.
My best midwife i encountered in my first labour was the student midwife, who realised something wasn't right when I was climbing the walls and crying when the older, more experienced mw had deemed me to be only 3cm and 'not even in labour yet'. She watched me and used her instinct instead of being passive and eventually convinced the older mw to admit me to the labour ward and get me gas and air instead of forcing me to go home. Turns out I had dilated 3-10 in under an hour.
Sometimes younger mws without children aren't clouded by their own experiences and can be a bit more open minded about each woman's needs.

Bluepetra Sat 06-Jun-15 01:33:39

I hear you. All four of the midwives I've seen are far too young and inexperienced for my liking, I too wish for older more mature, exoerienced care. So I swapped hospitals anyway due to a number of concerns but am now glad to see what I was hoping for, more older midwives.
One thing which bothered me was seeing the young midwives on Facebook with their mates, photos of them getting drunk and looking too young. It didn't fill me with confidence at all.

purdiepie Sat 06-Jun-15 01:40:57

My last midwife was about twelve and kept calling me Zoe. That is not my name. After the sixth time of telling her she wrote it on her hand.

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