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Pearls from the First Year: Be Humble

by Guest Blogger Aubre Tompkins, CNM

Aubre Tompkins, CNM, is finishing up her first year as a midwife. She has been guest blogging about the lessons she’s learned this year in a series for ACNM. Check out her first two posts here:
Pearls #1 and #2: Remember to Breathe, and Listen
Pearl #3: Emotions are Healthy

I have a confession to make. I am guilty of a common pitfall. When I was pregnant with my first child, I thought that my midwives were so wonderful, so great, that I placed them on a pedestal. When I was pregnant with my second child, this same phenomenon happened yet again. Then, through the course of my studies, I had a tendency to idolize my teachers and mentors. My eyes were full of stardust and, to me, these women were so fantastic that the pedestal effect occurred once more. I couldn’t wait to join the ranks of these elevated women. Women who were so smart and kind, who seemed so “put together” and to know all the answers. Once I really started walking down my own path toward midwifery, I was nervous about this transformation. When was I going to join the ranks of those elevated midwives? On what day would I feel this lifting of my own self? Thankfully, eventually, the stardust began to clear and I realized that there was no elevation that would magically happen. That I was already blessed to be in the ranks of these women….firmly planted on the ground, with not a pedestal in sight. This leads to one of the most important lessons I have learned, Pearl #4…Be Humble! Yes, we are highly trained and skilled practitioners. We are also human beings with our own strengths and flaws, and are no better or worse than the women and families we serve.

Overconfidence is one of the most dangerous complications of our practice. If you ever think that “you know it all” or “have seen it all,” this is the time to step back and take stock. Every woman, each pregnancy and every baby are a completely unique set of variables. Each will benefit from an individual plan and a fresh perspective. One of the many things that I cherish about this work is that it is never boring; there is always something more to learn. These lessons come to us via many sourcesthrough educational institutions, from our professional organization, through colleagues, from continuing education credits. However, some of the most valuable sources of these lessons are from our clients. Each encounter is an opportunity to broaden our knowledge base. In my experience so far, every time I have thought that I know exactly how a woman’s labor would progress, how a well-woman exam would go, or how a postpartum recovery will flow, I have very quickly been shown the error of my ways. As you progress on your own path, remember, there is always more to learn and additional experiences to gather. If you ever feel 100% comfortable, be mindful as this can lead to complacency. Be always humble and open to the lessons along the way and you will never regret it!

Aubre Tompkins became a certified nurse-midwife in 2010. She has a busy family, with three fantastic children and a great husband. She lives in Denver and works at Colorado's only freestanding birth center, Mountain Midwifery Center. She has been learning to knit for the past 3 years and is almost done with her first scarf. Her blog, With Woman, The First Year…And Beyond, is a chronicle of her experiences from her developing career.

Posted 11/28/2011 11:01:05 AM



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