Life of Male Midwife – Inspiring Stories from Male Midwives

‘’There are many men who could provide a great contribution to this industry.’’ Stuart Hislop (Scotland’s first male midwife)

The year of 1975 was really important for the male representatives who wanted to be midwives. Before the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 midwifery was seen by law as a female only profession. Thankfully times have changed, law has changed and prejudice has hopefully changed too. 45 years later midwifery is still one of the most gender-segregated jobs. Male midwives still make up a small proportion of the profession. It’s been reported that just 10.8% of registered nurses were men (NMC, 2017). This makes the midwifery profession one of the most gender-segregated ones.

Undeniably, though, there is progress! In fact, there are universities which aim for a gender balance within nursing and midwifery. They launch programmes targeting male representatives in nursing. Another great way for creating more awareness around the topic is through social media channels. Men make incredible nurses and midwives! We can see that through the inspiring posts. They put so much love in every word they share about their job. Caring, compassionate and hard-working the male representatives of the profession provide a great contribution to this industry.

Let us take a look at some really touching stories from three incredible male midwives. They shared their midwife journeys with the team of Mylocum and we want to reshare them with the world. Their stories come from the heart and show their dedication and genuine love for the profession.

Anders Lindback and his Midwife Story 

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How did you decide to become a midwife? What was your main motivation?

I had been working as a nurse in a youth clinic with sexual and reproductive health for some years with mostly testing for STI, andrology and counselling different issues that young people could have regarding their sexual health. I really liked it but decided to study a master in midwifery and reproductive, perinatal and sexual health to be able to also work with gynecology and contraceptives in the clinic. As a midwife in Sweden you\’re able to prescribe contraceptives and insert implants and IUD\’s. But during my studies I noticed how much I really loved assisting births as well so a couple of months ago I decided to quit my job at the youth clinic and start working in a delivery ward instead.

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

For me it\’s that every day, or night, is so different and you never know what to expect when you enter the doors to work. Every birth is unique and my job is to make it a safe and positive experience for the new family.

It\’s such a complex work. Of course you need to have the medical skills because things could shift really quickly but it\’s also a craft and it takes a lot of practice to know what to feel and do with your hands. And it\’s also very demanding psychology to be present and calm and be there with the woman.

And last, but not least, to be able to be there in one of the greatest moments of their lives, every day at work, it\’s amazing.

Share an inspiring for you story from your professional life.

For me it\’s when I care for a woman who\’s afraid of childbirth, and in doubt of herself being able to do it. And I can be there to help her to trust herself, and her body, that it knows what to do. To make her experience the great power of giving birth and the extreme reward when she sees her baby for the first time.

 

Inspiring Story by Midwife Alex 

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How did you decide to become a midwife? What was your main motivation?

It was a long road to become a midwife. I started as a nurse on a med/surf unit and then transferred to labor and delivery. I did labor and delivery for about 8 years prior to applying to school. I think my biggest motivation was seeing the care many patients received and how uninformed patients felt. I really believe education is such a big part of midwifery and really supporting the individual during this special time. I was motivated to grow in my skills but still have the attachment to patients that bedside nurses have, so I really believed that midwifery was the correct path for me. You have the best of both worlds being a nurse and provider.

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

I truly feel the most fulfilling part is Building a connection with clients and being allowed to be part of this special moment in their lives. It was such an honor to help catch babies and just see this moment of time of pure joy and peace in a room.

Share an inspiring for you story from your professional life.

A few months ago I had an induction of labor who ruptured her membranes and on examination there was a prolapsed cord. This is an emergent situation that requires quick delivery. I called the physician to the room and started to discuss to the patient about the need for a stat cs. We started rolling to the OR and all I hear is the patient asking me to save her child over and over again. I told the patient to look at me and breathe and that we will do our most due diligence to have this child. I wanted the patient to focus on me and breathe with me. We had a beautiful baby in less than 10 minutes. About two weeks after that I saw the patient for a postpartum visit. The patient and her husband gave me a card with the most heartfelt message I have ever received. Thanking me for being calm and reassuring, but for being there at that right time. It was truly emotional and at that time I realized this is why I love what I do. Not for cards and thanks, but to be a captain on.

A team to steer the course, to provide calmness, to act upon situations, to empower the individual, to educate them and their partners, and to be caught in a moment of pure happiness. I do what I love and it is such an inspiring thing to see and witness.

 

Midwife Journey of Paul Byrne

How did you decide to become a midwife? What is your midwife’s journey?

My journey into midwifery has been a little unusual. I was living in Dublin, working as a roofing contractor for 28 years. My partner of 15 years became ill with lung cancer and died after 6 weeks in hospital. This was an extremely challenging time for me and like most men I buried myself in work to keep busy as a way of coping with the grief of my partner\’s death. One day in work I fell 36 feet off a roof and broke 11 bones. I was in a wheelchair for 3 months, I had 5 operations and had to learn how to walk again. This event was a blessing in disguise as it afforded me the time and space to reassess where my life was going and what I would do next.

I was inspired by the care I had received by the Nurses and Doctors that had cared for me. I thought that I would like to enter some aspect of the caring professions. Midwifery was the discipline that called to me, as it is generally supporting women with a normal physiological event that is incredibly life affirming. I had left school some 28 years previously and I had no qualifications to enter university. I started an access course in nursing studies, I was still on crutches when I started this course. I successfully completed the course with 10 distinctions. I applied to universities in Ireland and the UK, out of 15 applications I got 1 interview in the University of West London. I was successful in my interview and was accepted on the course as a midwifery student.

This meant I had to move to London but before I could I had to return to roofing for 6 months to accumulate some money to get me started in London. Fortunately I had a cousin living in London and he kindly put me up for 18 months. My first day in University was funny, one of my classmates confided in me that she thought I was one of the students\’ husbands. “How sweet of him to accompany her on her first day of University….. But why is he still the lecture hall”? The penny finally dropped.

I have had a number of challenges as a male student midwife, on my first day on labour ward I was declined by 5 women. By the end of my course I had been declined by 32 women. While I may be a male midwife I have come to understand that whether you are male or female first and foremost you are a healthcare professional. Charged with providing care and support to women and babies. 


Still a Way To Go

These touching stories get close to the heart, don’t they? You can hear the love coming out from their words. These men speak out of compassion. We must all be proud to have such incredible and dedicated midwives!
It is still a long way to go, but the overall progress seems optimistic. Let’s put the past behind and work on growing the percentage of male midwives in the industry. Let’s also don’t follow stereotypes. Yes, it is normal and natural for women to be firefighters as well as for men to be midwives. At the end those men support women – look at the beauty of this concept!
As Stuart Hislop (Scotland’s first male midwife) says “Men could and should be a substantial part of the nursing and midwifery workforce. There are many men who could provide a great contribution to this industry.”


Women who were cared for by men describe them as supportive, calm and gentle. Some of them even share that they are more understanding and sympathetic than female midwives. Share stories of your experience in the comments – personal or professional. 


Mylocum has many opportunities in midwifery and we would like to encourage both males and females to apply for their desired job. Job opportunities check here: https://www.mylocum.com/jobs-3/

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