Illustration for Girls’ Globe by Laiza Onofre
Today is the International Day of the Midwife and we’ve collected voices of women and midwives from around the world to celebrate the important work midwives do as health professionals, leaders and partners, and in safeguarding the human rights of women and girls.
“I think midwives are women’s best friends – wanting every woman to feel free, strong and beautiful through every stage of life and womanhood.” – Caroline, Mother, Sweden
“I love it as a midwife when I help women deliver safely until both mama and baby are discharged home both healthy. Maternal death and stillbirths, although relatively rare, just break my heart.” Malerotholi, Midwife, Lesotho
“My midwife was fantastic and I hope to meet her and tell her. She is responsible for making the welcoming of our daughter a calm and safe experience where I felt that she would do anything for me and our baby and she also made the father feel safe and included.” – Sofi, Mother, Finland
“There are so many ways that midwives partner with mothers, as they seek to provide the best possible health for their newborns and indeed their entire families. One example is the important role that midwives play in helping a new mother to breastfeed. It takes a lot of practice and many helping hands along the way.” – Janet Lewis, ICM Technical Midwife Advisor
“Midwives are the key to making women feel safe and bold though their pregnancy and while giving birth. By supporting women through their first steps as mothers and helping them bond with their newborn, women can enter motherhood empowered and with more confidence.” – Caroline, Mother, Sweden
“Midwives matter to me because, they have the knowledge to bring babies to life with love and care like no doctors.” – Alejandra, Mexico
“Midwives matter to me because every mum counts.” – Maria Sidéras, Midwife, Sweden
“Midwives matter to me because they are advocates for women on a personal level but also on a wider structural level. The role of midwife is central to a holistic model of health, which in an increasingly medicalised context, is invaluable. So often midwives challenge the dominant medical approach because it can be actively hostile to women and may not always work with the women’s innate physiological ability to give birth, but intervenes unnecessarily leading to increased risks for mother and baby. In my opinion midwifery is feminist work, placing women in the centre of their own care, showing them respect, facilitating their autonomy, offering reassurance and supporting them to make informed decisions.” – Aster, Mother and Student Midwife, UK
“I was inspired to train as a midwife by those who cared for me during my own pregnancy and birth. My community midwife with all her support and reassurance helped me feel confident in the decisions that I made throughout my antenatal and postnatal care even when they went against the status quo. I trusted her and felt that she truly listened to me; I only wish she had been my midwife at the birth of my son as well. I think continuity of care is so valuable.
Midwives are partners with women and their families when they truly listen, when they provide non judgemental support and provide evidence based information without personal bias. Partnership is not about telling women what to do or funneling them through a system without true regard for their personal circumstances and wishes. I think the work of midwives takes a huge amount of energy and they need more support and recognition.” – Aster, Mother and Student Midwife, UK
“As a father and husband, I request everyone to respect midwives because they are our integral part not only for our generation but also for the future generation” – Shantanu Garg, ICM Project Lead
“Midwives have more adequate knowledge about birth and babies than doctors, they understand the body better, in a more natural way.” – Sofia, Mother, Åland Islands, Finland
“I was pregnant with my firstborn in the U.S., and now I am expecting my second in Finland – countries with very different maternal and newborn healthcare systems. I have also lived in many countries, like India and Tanzania. Having access to quality midwifery and maternal health care services is absolutely crucial for women to be able to experience safe, healthy pregnancies and births. In many countries, women lack access to proper maternal health care services altogether – and in countries like the U.S., access is uneven because the cost of healthcare is so high and pregnancy and birth have been heavily medicalized and largely taken away from the hands of midwives. I believe midwives play a huge role in normalizing pregnancy and birth as natural conditions, not medical conditions or illnesses – and every single woman around the world should be able to experience pregnancy and birth with a qualified, trained midwife by her side.” – Emma, Mother, Finland/USA.
“Midwives have been a most important source in saving women’s and children’s lives all over the world – not only in modern times but also in history. I hope that all of you feel the importance of what you’re achieving, no matter where in the world you are working.” – Ingela Wiklund, Board Member ICM
Learn more about the International Day of the Midwife through the International Confederation of Midwives.