In May, Debra had the honor of delivering the keynote address to the New York University Midwifery Program/College of Nursing Graduation’s Blessingway. Here are some excerpts from her keynote about advice to budding midwives.
Affecting change in childbirth & “with woman”…
I am honored to be here with you today as you are entering a new phase of your life, as a midwife. Maternity Care is changing…. Changing in ways that will call upon each of you as midwives to have a crucial role in contributing to create a healthy safe, respectful, quality model of MotherBaby Maternity care in the U.S and around the world.
I have had the great privilege of traveling the world to both teach as well as learn about childbirth. To see where systems work well, where there are gaps and where there are abuses of power and money. I have learned that women’s bodies are the same and women mostly desire the same things in birth all over the world. Respectful, safe and healthy care. The best models, those with the best care and best outcomes are countries and places where there are strong autonomous midwives.
As a midwife, you are not only caring for MotherBaby’s you are touching women’s family’s, how you care for women will effect a woman’s self esteem, her ability to parent, and how she feel about herself will effect how she contributes to our community’s and society. Your care truly can change a woman’s perception of herself and her abilities.
I hope each of you will…
Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to face your own fears and barriers to seeing birth as whole, powerful, and transformative, As like me, women will look to you to hold their fears and provide a healthy strong belief that natural birth is every woman’s birth right.
I hope you will always value the process as much as the outcomes.
That you will bring respect to MotherBaby, father, partner, family and colleagues.
That you will advocate to rebuild our broken system.
To create home birth opportunities in hospitals with rooms that offer women true choice of a full range of comfort measures.
My dream is that you will help to develop an autonomous midwifery council and model in the U.S.
And that you will greet these challenges with love. Love is healing; Love is nurturing and being born into love will transform our world.
Follow your intuition…
You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. – Alan Alda
How do you make time to connect to your intuition? To encourage each woman to tap into her own intuition as a labor and birthing women and as a mother. This is not something we can read in a book and take in; it is a daily practice that only you can define that will take you deeper into the miracle of your own heart and wisdom and to see more fully the opportunities that each birth provides for you and the women you serve. I feel that every birth holds a mirror before you that will reflect into your soul and how you allow that image to reflect with not only strengthen you as a midwife, but we as birth workers are so blessed to be on a path that holds the richness of life in every moment for us as well. The long hours, sleepless night, challenges and joys will provide you with a deep wisdom that few people truly know and a connection to life, love, and the divine if you allow yourself to connect to this deeper inner knowing we call intuition. I have attended many a birth that the midwives intuition kept birth safe, long before any machine or technology gave us signs.
Midwives are the gatekeepers of gentle, respectful beginnings and the joy of being able to honor and inspire new midwives as they begin their careers filled me with joy.