I remember the old times, when one of our teachers in midwifery school tried to get us into the philosophical question whether or not we cn really be 'ourselves'. In how far are we ourselves? In how far are we determined by others? And by conseques: in how far do we play a part in the lives of others?
Unlike most jobs, we -as midwives-are often part of a crucial moment in the life of a woman and her family. Having kids, not being able to have kids, loss of a child, victims of rape, ... This are often turning points in the life of a family. Moments that will not easily be forgotten.
For a long time now I have realized that all the women I met have let some kind of a trace inside of me. Some traces are more visible than others. Not necessarily because I have seen these women longer or more often, but mainly because we shared some intense moments together. Some made me change a practice, my behavior or strengthened what I was doing. But all these encounters have had an impact on my life.
So, if they have an influence on my life, is it not possible that I have had an influence on their lives? A successful resuscitation results in a life baby, giving a whole other perspective to the mother and her family. A women that escaped a cesarean section due to proper case management might not only have escaped a cesarean section, but also all the possible consequences in the next pregnancy. Afer all, it isn't sure that she will still have access to the hospital in case she has a uterine rupter in the next pregnancy. War and economic situations might change quickly in some places in this world.
Traces are not only left by the grand actions though. How often didn't a mother thank you for the support you gave her and her family? And did it never happen that a mother complained about something (something you could or could not change)?
In fact, thinking about it, as midwives we might possibly have had a huge impact on the lives of some mothers, husbands, brothers, sisters and extended families. For others the impact will have been smaller. But as they left traces in us, we surely left some traces in these women and their families. And it shouldn't be our duty, but our pride as a midwife, to make sure we only leave positive traces behind in the women we care for. Traces that will mark them in a positive way, just as so many woman have marked us in so many ways.