Sarah Smith is an English midwife, doula and mother of one. Recently she worked supporting women through births in Los Angeles, where I was fortunate enough to make her acquaintance.
Now back home in England, Sarah is focused on enjoying her toddler son and choosing happiness. I’m delighted to be able to share this interview and hear her point of view on motherhood and asking for support.
What brought you to your work as a midwife?
I always find it hard to answer this question because it wasn’t a defining moment or anything in particular. All I can say is becoming and being a midwife has always been something that has felt very instinctual to me. I knew I wanted to be a midwife since I was about 14, and since then have never questioned it or looked back.
Did your approach to midwifery change after becoming a mother?
As I became a midwife at quite a young age, and therefore before I had my son, I always felt that maybe some people wouldn’t take me seriously being young, as well as not having children of my own yet.
Since having my son, I suddenly felt like I’d earned my stripes, almost like a bit of an initiation and my confidence as a midwife grew enormously. I feel my connection to women now is stronger because of having been through the experience myself, and I feel my empathy is now much greater.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe you need to have children in order to be a good midwife, there are plenty of midwives without children who are fantastic midwives. But for me personally, I know this helped me on many different levels.
What do you wish every mother could experience or know before her own birth?
I wish for every woman to feel a sense of empowerment, in whatever way that might look for her. I would love every woman to know she has a choice and a voice in her care.
Did you have postpartum support after the birth of your son?
I had limited postpartum support, due to various different things, but I wish I had had more support and helping hands around me. I learned the hard way about doing too much too soon!
It’s all about sleep when you’re a new parent, any tips to share?
Everyone says it, but it’s so true, rest when you can, and don’t worry about the little things. Build a network of support around you, so that they can take care of you, so that you can take care of your baby.
Most mothers I work with regardless of economics feel like they should do it all, how have you balanced motherhood and your career?
I have to say it is very difficult, especially in the line of work that I do. Along with the obvious highlights of the career, many challenges come along too. There have been many times where I’ve had to be at work, instead of being with my family during special occasions, birthdays, Christmases, and even when my son’s been sick or when he’s needed me. I’ve had to learn to ask for help far more than I would have done previously. I’ve learned, it really does take a village.
Is there a book you love you would recommend, doesn’t have to be related to birth, motherhood or parenting?
I would recommend anything by Dr Sarah Buckley, it’s fantastic to read this type of information from a medical doctor, which is backed up with evidence based information! Very inspiring reads and definitely something birth professionals can take away from it.
Who or what is inspiring you now?
Simple, my son inspires me every day. He inspires me to do more, be more, and strive for more!
Is there a belief you held onto or something you didn’t believe or thought you would never do in the past ten years that you’ve done or has shifted in your life?
I did the worlds highest bungee jump!! Something I never imagined I’d ever be doing!! This tested two of the biggest principles I live my life by; Trust, and Feel the Fear and do it Anyway (another of my favorite books)!! Sometimes in life I believe that you just have to jump, and trust that you will find your wings on the way down.
Would you share one special childhood memory?
Bonfire nights in England, watching the fireworks with my Dad. Bundled up in our winter warmers, hats, gloves, coats, scarves, ear muffs, etc. Eating fish and chips! Seeing our breath in the cold night air and looking up at the stars!
Thanks, Sarah, for taking time to share your words and insights. To connect with Sarah, visit her on Instagram.
Photo Courtesy of Sarah Smith