Melanie Gray, a mother of two from Minnesota, joins us for a second week to discuss the midwives who inspired her to train as one herself...
Hello again Melanie, so, I understand you plan to become a midwife. Did you ever consider this as a career before you had your own children or did the idea come afterwards?
When I first started attending the University of Minnesota my major was pre-nursing. I wanted to work as a labour and delivery nurse. I have always had a fascination with the pregnancy and birth experience, so I knew that it was something that I wanted to do from very early on in my education career.
After not being accepted into the nursing program, I changed my degree to psychology and figured I would find my path one day.
It was after the birth of James that I knew that midwifery was definitely what I wanted to do. I really had to search for different routes that I could take to get into the midwifery profession. I knew that it would be sometime in the future that I would have the chance to start studying, it was just a matter of when and where.
What made you decide to go for it now?
After Lennon was born, I found an accredited school with a great distance programme that seems very accommodating to women who have families and would like to study from home. I figure now is as good as anytime. I'm busy with two kids now and will still be busy in a few years from now!
At least I will be able to start my training now and will hopefully be finished once the boys are starting school. That way I will be able to begin my career once they are in school and sports full time.
Did any one midwife particularly inspire you?
There have been a lot of different midwives who have inspired me. One was the community midwife that I was seeing while I was pregnant with James in Nottingham, she was lovely and I really liked going to my antenatal visits with her.
The midwife at the Queen's Medical Centre I had during James' birth was inspiring because she believed that my body was capable of having a baby the way it was intended to.
Ina May Gaskin was a huge inspiration to me too after reading her book, "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth". Just her positive birth stories and the way she saw birth as a natural thing really made think "maybe I could help introduce that same way of thinking to more women in the States?"
The two midwives that I had for my pregnancy and birth with Lennon here in the US definitely helped me to confirm that this was the profession that I was meant to do.
What do you hope to get out of the work, and is there anything that you worry you will find particularly difficult?
What I am most looking forward to getting out of my work as a midwife will be to help women achieve natural births and to have healthy babies.
Having had a homebirth myself, I really want to help promote change in the maternity care system here in the US and to help spread the word to other women that they have other options besides just the hospital when comes to an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery.
I am also looking forward to getting to know a wide variety of women and their families and having the honour to be there for such a monumental and wonderful time in their lives.
I do worry that my profession may cut into our family time though and that will be difficult at times. While this is something that we will have to work around, especially while the kids are young... I can't wait for my kids' replies to be (when asked what their mom does for a living) "she catches babies"!