(A beautiful BAFTA animation created by Emma Lazenby, the daughter of a midwife)
My 2 year old has just learnt this phrase when asked at nursery ‘Where is Mummy today?’ Unfortunately her response to ‘Where is Daddy today?’ doesn’t quite gain the same reaction. It is a sweet way to describe what I actually do for a job. When my elder daughter was asked to draw a picture of what her Mummy did for a job, I had images of her drawing babies falling from the sky with me holding out a pair or humongous arms attempting to catch them all.
I’ve always been very open with my elder daughter about why I have to get up whilst she is still asleep to go to hospital for a 12 hour shift and return when she’s in bed. She knows that midwives look after pregnant women and help them to deliver their babies. She also knows how babies come out of Mummies. There are no babies left under gooseberry bushes in my stories!
When I was pregnant with my second daughter, someone gave me a wonderful book called ‘Hello Baby’ which tells the story of a baby being born at home whilst the three elder siblings watch. The illustrations are beautiful and show the baby being born, the placenta and the cord being cut. I was never planning on having my daughter present at the birth of her new sibling but I wanted her to be aware of how birth is meant to be, and this is how she came into this world. It raised lots of questions which I answered with honestly and integrity and I even showed her the photos from her own birth, which she loved. She was especially interested in the cord clamp on her sister’s belly button and when helping with nappy changes she would inspect it making sure it was kept dry and tucked into the nappy. The other day she declared she wanted to be a midwife ‘just like Mummy’ so we threw together a few bits in her dressing up box and some various props from around the house. It was wonderful watching her create an imaginary game from the stories she had heard from me. I felt extremely proud of what I do, even if it means I don’t see the children as much as I would like to. But I think it’s so important for them to see their Mother go to work each day to do a job she loves.