I previously posted about the book Rediscovering Birth by Sheila Kitzinger. I recently finished reading the book in its entirety and enjoyed the following description of the work of the midwife:
"In all cultures the midwife's place is on the threshold of life, where intense human emotions--fear, hope, longing, triumph and incredible physical power--enable a new human being to emerge. Her vocation is unique. The art of the midwife is in understanding the relationship between psychological and physiological processes in childbirth. Rather than being the provider of a technical service to support a doctor, or someone who scuttles around getting ready for an obstetrician and clearing away after him, her skills lie at the point at which the emotional and biological touch and interact. She is not a manager of labour and delivery. Rather, she is the opener of doors, the one who releases, the nurturer. She is the strong anchor when there is fear and pain; the skilled friend who is in tune with the rhythms of birth, the mountain tops and chasms, the striving and the triumph."
The intersection of emotional and biological is exactly why I valued the prenatal care from my own midwife so much--she cared for ME as a person and woman with feelings, plans, thoughts, hopes, and ideas while at the same time that she also checked my BP and the baby's heart rate. Women are much more complicated than a set of biological symptoms or vital signs! This type of care is irreplaceable and is no less than ALL pregnant women deserve.