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Interview with a Midwife Essay

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“All over the world there exists in every society a small group of women who feel themselves strongly attracted to give care to other women during pregnancy and childbirth. Failure to make use of this group of highly motivated people is regrettable and a sin against the principle of subsidiarity.”
Dr. Kloosterman, OB/GYN from Holland

Chances are that terms such as “midwife” and “home birth” conjure up for you old-fashioned images of childbirth. These words may bring to mind scenes from old movies, but you’re not likely to associate them with the modern image of childbirth. Do you know anyone who has had a midwife-assisted birth or a home birth? Would you consider one?

The version of childbirth that we’re used to is propagated by television and movies. A woman, huge with child, is rushed to the hospital when her water breaks. She is ushered into a delivery room and her husband hovers helplessly as nurses hook her up to IVs and monitors. The woman writhes in pain and demands relief from the painful contractions. Narcotic drugs are administered through her IV to dull the pain, or an epidural is inserted into the woman’s spine so that she cannot feel anything below her waist. When the baby is ready to be born, the doctor arrives dressed in surgical garb. The husband, nurses and doctor become a cheerleading squad, urging the woman to, “Push!” Moments later, a pink, screaming newborn is lifted up for the world to see. Variations on this theme include the cesarean section, where the woman is wheeled to the operating room where her doctors remove the baby through an incision in her abdomen.

For one woman, this vision of childbirth is not the norm. Ana Rhodes is a midwife, and she is one of the only birth attendants available to...


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...ucky has very limited choices.

I remember something that Ana said during our interview: “My biggest influences are my repeat moms. They encourage me and love me as a good friend, and I know they will support me and have my back no matter what.” It strikes me that the relationship Ana develops with her clients is genuine and long-lasting. From the first meeting to the day your baby is born, Ana is with you every step of your pregnancy, which lies in stark contrast to the revolving door of doctors, nurse practitioners and residents you might encounter during a medically managed pregnancy and childbirth. The service that Ana provides to this community is selfless and driven by a passion for helping women. My hope is that midwifery will be recognized in Kentucky as the untapped resource that it is, and that hidden treasures such as Ana will have their chance to shine.


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