Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Midwives

This occurred to me just over 12 weeks ago, and has re-occurred faintly since.

For those of you with offspring, when you found yourself in the dizzy environment of the delivery suite for the first time, did you get the unsettling feeling that all other activities and careers going on in the outside world, including yours, were trivial, even a bit silly, and that midwives and other related medicos and birth-mongers are the only people on the planet with real jobs?

9 comments:

Nige said...

Certainly did Brit - birth and death put everything else in a wrong-end-of-the telescope perspective. But we forget...

malty said...

'Angels of mercy', 'frontline workers', possibly, when No 1 arrived, at the old Lister in Hitchin, we men simply did not get involved in the actual process, our job being done, so to speak, our task was to sit in the 'waiting room' until the deed was done. What worried me was catching sight of the gynecologist, a five foot high, extremely bandy Italian, "crumbs" I thought, "poor Frau Malty."
No 2 arrived after the age of enlightenment so in I went, "short staffed" said nnnnurse Gladys Emmanuel as she manhandled me into the epicentre, "blimey, this lot look well hard", I thought, "poor Frau Malty."
And here I must make a confession, I do have a somewhat jaundiced view of things medical, my mother trained as a midwife in the early thirties and spent all of her working life in the bandages and pills trade, ending her days as a good old fashioned district nurse complete with Morris Minor.

When she began her career, medical care for the poor was dished out under the banner of noblesse oblige, most births were at home and in many areas she visited, by bike, the infant mortality rate was thirty percent, she knew the local undertakers very well.

Gaw said...

Great insight into the olden days Malty. The one overwhelmingly positive argument for progress is the improvement in medicine.

If you start doing a bit of counterfactual reasoning - taking into account the odd emergency caesarean and serious illness - you begin to realise that a few decades ago you and a good part of your family at the same stage wouldn't actually have been around.

worm said...

Everytime I look at midwives and feel trivial and silly, I just smile and laugh to myself that their profession is pronounced 'mid-whiffery'

Brit said...

Ah thanks, Worm, a practical solution to the problem, excellent.

Peter Burnet said...

That is just the first incidence of a sea change in the way one views the world. I have become convinced that many hot debates on social and cultural issues divide not so much on right/left axes, but between parents and the childless. Plenty of exceptions, nuances, etc., but there really is little sadder than a child growing up with parents who continue to see life through a childless lens.

Brit said...

Malty's comment about the pre and post enlightenment business of allowing dads into the room brings up a related unsettling feeling one gets in the whole birth business: that this is something women have been quietly getting on with since the dawn of time, while men wax important about their trivial/a bit silly occupations.

It fades, though, as Nige says. It has to, doesn't it?

David said...

Actually, today marks a whole new epoch for me. With no school, my daughter got up this morning and made us pancakes for breakfast. Considering that this is the start of the long slow slide that ends with her changing my nappies, it was surprisingly enjoyable.

newpsalmanazar said...

On the contrary, I reflected that they all relied on me for their employment, since it was yours truly that got my wife pregnant in the first place. That's the better job by far.