As a young, soon-to-be mom, I thought that when it came time to pick the person who was going to help me bring my baby in the world, an OB-GYN was my only option. I found and started seeing an obstetrician immediately, however, I wasn't completely happy. Close to the end of my pregnancy, I figured out why I wasn't happy and I switched from an OB-GYN to a midwife. Turns out, that change was the perfect decision for me, and one that I have never second-guessed or regretted.
Unfortunately, when I was choosing my doctor, I had no idea that midwives still existed. Little did I know that more and more women are choosing midwives over OB-GYNs to help them deliver their babies and, towards the end of my pregnancy, I would be one of those women. My OB-GYN was a great woman and a great doctor, don't get me wrong, but something just didn't feel right during my appointments. I felt like I was just another number and just another patient and my concerns and opinions weren't valid. However, when I met my midwife and had my first appointment with her — an appointment, by the way, that was made purely by accident, as none of the doctors were available to see me — I found what I was missing.
I realized that, to me, it was incredibly important that I feel heard and valued and respected and not, you know, just another number in the baby delivery line. My midwife empowered me and helped me realize that not only were my thoughts and feelings and concerns important, so was my experience. So, while there were many reasons why I switched from an OB-GYN to a midwife, the most obvious reason was the personal connection I made with the woman who ended up helping me deliver my baby.
My Midwife Was More Relatable
Now, don't get me wrong. My OB-GYN was on the younger side and was somewhat relatable, but not nearly as much as my midwife. My midwife was in her late twenties/early thirties and had two children under the age of five. She was in a place in her own life that was closer to my own personal situation, while simultaneously having the knowledge and experience that made me feel informed, safe and comfortable. Win-win.
My Midwife Seemed More Knowledgable...
My midwife had been through just as much schooling and could have used the same medical terminology my OB-GYN used on a regular basis. Thankfully (and probably for my benefit) she preferred to speak in layman's terms so I could actually understand what she was saying.
Not only was my midwife experienced, but I trusted her experience, too.
My Midwife Made Herself More Available To Me
My OB-GYN was almost impossible to get a hold of if I had any questions. The best time to ask her questions was when I was in for an appointment and if anything came up outside of that, I either had to wait until my next appointment or leave her a message and hope she would return my call (a call that was usually returned by an assistant, and not my OB-GYN herself).
My midwife, on the other hand, was always available and easy to get a hold of and didn't make me feel like I was an inconvenience or an annoyance. That, honestly, meant the world to me.
My Midwife Was Easier To Understand
My midwife was well-versed in medical terms, but could translate them into terms I could actually understand — unlike my OB-GYN. When I spoke with her, I could actually understand her and felt like we were actually communicating and, as a result, I felt more comfortable.
My Midwife Empathized With Me
It's not that my OB-GYN was "mean," it's just that I didn't feel a personal connection to her. Bringing another human being into the world is such an intimate, personal experience, and I didn't want to feel like just another patient.
Which is why my midwife feeling like an actual friend — someone I've known forever and trusted — made all the difference in the world. When I needed reassurance of something, I could count on her to actually be my friend and take a genuine interest in me, my baby, and our health.
My Midwife Was Easy To Talk To...
Even to this day, I can actually hold conversations with my midwife. My OB-GYN was nice and we found a few ways to relate to one another, but for the most part we just talked baby and pregnancy.
...And Not Just About My Baby Or Pregnancy
With my midwife, we have been able to talk about my pregnancy, my baby, school, future plans, interests, and anything else we felt like discussing during a visit. She literally is just one of my friends I can openly talk to about anything and everything, without fear of judgement.
My Midwife Gave Me Options
When I encountered certain issues during my pregnancy, my midwife would give me any and every safe option she thought would be able to help me and relieve me of any discomfort or pain. Her willingness to provide the information, then let me decide what worked best for me and my pregnant body, made me feel empowered and capable and in control of what would end up being my labor and delivery experience.
My Midwife Didn't Focus On Statistics...
Any time I had a concern, my OB-GYN went by facts, and fact alone. Her choice to constantly regurgitate statistics, made me feel like she really didn't listen to me or respect my concerns. That's, you know, a pretty crappy feeling.
...But Trusted Her Instincts (And Mine), Too
M midwife, on the other hand, listened to my concerns and every single concern was considered legitimate right from the start. She would search for medical facts to support my concerns or calm my fears, sure, but she would also take my feelings into consideration and didn't downplay my instincts (or hers). My midwife knew how to appropriately balance medical facts and instinct which, in the end, made me feel heard and understood.
Feeling respected, valued, heard, and comfortable is something every woman deserves at any point in her life, but especially when she's about to go through something as taxing as labor and delivery. Thankfully, I was able to feel all of those things because of my midwife.