As I sit here, waiting for a call from a mama, wondering if she’s okay, hesitant to get settled into a Sunday activity, I know why I do this.

I am a midwife because I know the power: the power of a process that is so strong, yet all that is usually needed is calm reassurance that all is well; the power of taking control of your own birth and not stepping on that assembly line; the power of that moment when you hold your newborn in your arms and understand that it was all worth it; the power of a process that is as much sacred as mechanical. I recognize the transformation, and I am its witness.

I am a midwife because I am smart: there are so many things rushing through my head, at each prenatal appointment, during each moment of labor, only quieting when mama and baby are out of my care–but even then, I think. I understand the possibilities, the risks, the odds, but I know, too, that despite my knowledge, the process happens all the same. I assess and weigh and evaluate. I inform and educate. Sometimes I share good news, sometimes bad. Sometimes I refer. I keep learning, because as soon as I think I know it all, I don’t. Or there is new information. Or a new woman with different circumstances. I am smart enough to be humble.

I am a midwife because I am vulnerable: yes, I have been hurt–badly–but that is because I was open enough to be so, and being open for those I serve means that I do serve them. It may be through understanding their journey and walking it with them, or through vigilant monitoring, or through the late nights and wee hours. But I give freely, and we connect. It is tempting to build walls, and I see how they could serve. But I know that if I am closed off I cannot hear, and listening is what we do.

I am a midwife because it is me: I have had hard lessons, have tried to quit, have turned away, but you can’t turn away from yourself. It is a part of my being and knows my place is truly¬†with woman. It is more than a job or set or responsibilities–it is my vocation. It chose me as much as I chose it. And whenever there is doubt or fatigue or discouragement, along comes another mama and her precious baby to remind me why.

That is why I am a midwife.