My name is Wantina and I am a midwife in Kentucky. Being a midwife in the middle of a pandemic has brought a lot of changes. Relationships are really important in my profession. Expectant mothers need to be heard. It’s important that they feel safe, cared for and supported. It has not been the same as connecting in person but I regularly connect by Zoom or phone with my moms. I miss getting to hug my moms, especially when there are tears. Levels of anxiety are high, and they feel the isolation. I am getting a lot more phone calls and texts than usual. But it’s really important that expectant mothers not get out and be exposed to the virus.
As the women get closer to their due date, I will come into their front yard to do a prenatal check. We stay six feet apart as long as possible, and I am fully gloved-up with my mask on as I check the position of the baby in their tummy. It’s critical that we not be in a contained space and limit the amount of in-person time. The absolute maximum, even with masks and gloves, is ten minutes.
Community support is such a vitally important aspect of giving birth, so it’s been especially difficult when it comes to delivery. I delivered a baby recently in a really close, tight-knit community. When I got to the house, the neighbors all came out on their porches, asking questions and sending well-wishes to the laboring mom. When the delivery was over, as I stepped out of the door, neighbors were anxiously awaiting the news. So the father came out, lifted up the baby “Lion King” style, and proudly announced the birth. I had no doubt that the family’s doorstep would soon be covered in gifts and meals. I learned later the neighbors took care of the lawn and other chores so the family could have focused time together.
Community connections, people caring for one another, little gestures of kindness and concern…that’s what new mommas need, and that’s what great neighbors do. It’s one of the many reasons why I love my job.
I’m very proud to be a northern Kentucky midwife. There aren’t enough of us yet, but I’m thankful that I get to do what I do everyday.
Know a new or expectant mom? What are the creative ways you have seen communities and families helping as we celebrate these new lives and our collective future?
(Photo credits: Mhari Shaw)
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