Sometime back it was suggested I write a post for my sister’s blog… so here it is.

Michelle often talks about the changes going on in the birthing world, especially in her part of the world, Upstate NY.  When I hear her speak of such things, I think of the changes I have seen in my sister since she began Local Care Midwifery (LCM). I think that the changes that have occurred within her since beginning this home birth practice are significant, perhaps even blog-worthy.

My big sister is the first-born and she wears the stereotypical first child traits pretty well. I pulled a few terms off the internet: responsible and diligent, demanding, strict, overprotective, conscientious, organized, dependable, accommodating, persistent, hard driven and ruthless. “One common characteristic of many first borns is that they tend to be perfectionists.”[1]  Tend to be?  Michelle has always been perfect! I would know. I came just one year behind her in school and remember one teacher actually verbalizing what I always sensed.  This teacher actually asked “Why aren’t you as good as Michelle?”  Wait, wait, I digress. This is not about me. This is about Michelle.  She was all of that and more and yes, that was all pretty intimidating to follow, but it was pretty cool too.

Since beginning LCM, there are subtle changes in Michelle that translate to huge differences. Pinpointing any one thing is difficult. There are many things, but they all boil down to a change in attitude.

When I say attitude I am thinking of a ballet dancer’s attitude. She is more conscious of her position in everything she does. Her form is softer while simultaneously stronger and more assured. I heard her talking once, comparing working as a midwife in a hospital to being midwife in a home birth setting. She said it begins with recognizing she is a guest in the home, a guest who has a specific charge. That is it!  That attitude of “being a guest” and understanding the authority given to function in that space has infiltrated every aspect of her life. Michelle is a very gracious guest.

She is more conscious of being a guest in every space she enters while at the same time recognizing that she has a purpose or charge in that same space. There are no completely “off” moments as a home birth midwife. She is always on call. Always at the ready to apply the knowledge and skills she has been given and honed to perfection at a moment’s notice. The “always” requires she must take care of herself in a deeper way. She learned to breathe and stretch and hold and be very, very conscious of her position (or attitude) at all times and all places. Since she is never off, this attitude organically flows to every aspect of her life.  I see an entire network of people and organizations benefitting from this change. Her clients, professional organizations, friends, neighbors, the Y, her church, the shops and restaurants she visits, even the internet are all better for her being a part of then even for a moment. And so am I.

Margaret Vorih