“The midwife considers the miracle of childbirth as normal and leaves it alone unless there’s trouble. The obstetrician normally sees childbirth as trouble; if he leaves it alone, it’s a miracle.” ~ Sheila Stubbs
It’s clear to anyone who gives it half a thought that women did not always give birth in hospitals, and in fact, they most commonly would give birth in their own homes under the guide of an experienced woman. There were those who specialized in the birthing process and who helped it come to fruition naturally, and those women were called Midwives. International Midwives’ Day serves to remind us that the female body is perfectly capable of giving birth and carrying a child to term without some of the invasive methods employed by Obstetricians and other practitioners.
History of International Midwives’ Day
The history of Midwifery goes back to prehistory, though there are records all over the world of midwife traditions. These women are those who made a study of the birthing process and the vital role it plays in perpetuating the species and its cultural significance. While it’s true in ancient days their practices were based heavily in experience and superstition, today’s midwives are just as capable and competent at seeing a woman to term as the more commonly used OB/GYN’s and Obstetricians.
While there are men who specialize in midwifery, thousands of years of tradition has rendered this field of medicine almost exclusively a woman’s art. So much so, in fact, that in order to be a midwife in ancient Greece you had to have given birth yourself, making it an exclusively female practice. It is this history that led to the division between Midwifery and Obstetricians, a split that took place in 17th Century Europe. While the practice of midwifery fell off for a while in the past couple hundred years, there is a rising movement towards home birth that is making this practice more relevant than ever. International Midwives’ Day celebrates these intrepid men and women and the part they play in a happy home and healthy birth.
How to celebrate International Midwives’ Day
One of the best ways to celebrate International Midwives’ Day is by learning about Midwifery and the role it plays in home-birthing. If you know a midwife or one helped you give birth to your child, be sure to send them a thank you card or call them and tell them you appreciate them. Midwives tend to care very deeply about the children they help bring into the world, and love updates!