Jennifer's Personal Notes

The Value of Humility

This week I have been sharing some of the harder lessons I had to learn to become a midwife.  The value of humility is perhaps the hardest one I faced.

I thought I did approach birth with humility.  I believed I understood the process and knew that the best course of action was to let the labor take it’s course.  Yet, at the same time I failed to see how I approached birth with arrogance.

  • When I would hear labor stories, I would decide for myself what doctors, midwives, doulas and mothers had done wrong despite not being present for the labor.
  • I had answers for every problem a woman might face because natural birth was always possible.
  • I assumed what I knew about birth was not only all there really was to know about birth, but also the most important things to know about birth.

I now approach birth with a different type of humility.

  • I accept that there are things about the human body I do not know or understand.  I accept the ability of others to know and understand those things even if I currently do not.
  • I accept that problems can arise in labor without anyone being at fault.  Babies and placentas can have problems despite the best health of the mother and care of the midwife.
  • I accept that the hands and knees position and a doula cannot possibly be the answer to every problem.
  • I accept that there are multiple ways to respond to a problem and most of them will give a good outcome most of the time.


Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)