Naomi (Ngati Tuwharetoa), born in the central North Island, began her career with Far North Midwives in Kaitaia at the beginning of this year, and couldn’t be happier.
She hadn’t been to the Far North before her practical experience, but fell in love with it instantly.
“I always wanted to be a rural practitioner, and to live somewhere warm and close to the beach, so the Far North is perfect for me,” she said. She underwent most of her practical experience in the final year of her four year midwifery degree, and was mentored by her current colleague Leann Bell and former Far North midwife Sue Lee.
“I loved it. Both women hold similar principles of midwifery to me and were amazing teachers. I learnt so much,” she said.
The eldest of seven children at age twelve she was present at the birth of her fourth sibling, and three years later helped her mother deliver her last child. “Mum’s second midwife arrived late, so I ended up helping with that birth. I got to cut the cord. I loved it. It was fascinating,” she said.
Growing up in the country, she was familiar with animals giving birth, and had always had a fascination with the natural process of life and the human body. Birthing was a normal part of her life, and once she began studying midwifery she knew it was what she was passionate about and should be doing.
“Being involved with this miraculous part of a person’s life and witnessing women become mothers is a humbling and incredible experience. I enjoy the holistic and strong whanau approach that Far North women take to birth. There is lots of whanau support up here that you maybe don’t have in in more urban areas because it is a smaller area, and I am able to be a more autonomous practitioner. It is more woman-centred.”
“The Far North has some of the highest vaginal birth rates in the country. That is something to be proud of. Women up here are strong and dig deep. The power of the mind is amazing.”
Home births, which she favoured were also not uncommon.
Being able to birth in your own home environment with your whanau and family around is a very special experience,” she said, but she almost missed one of her first Far North arrivals.
“One of my clients was having her fifth baby, and I was on my way to the hospital to meet her. I got there and she wasn’t there. She rang me and was yelling, ‘I’m pushing’. I raced over to her house and got there just in time to catch the baby coming out. She later told me she hadn’t made it to the hospital in time because she couldn’t find her keys.”
At our last count Naomi had been present at around 50 births, and she had very quickly found that being young (24) and Maori was a real asset as far as many Far North women of a similar age were concerned.
“I really have a passion for young women commencing motherhood. I have a lot of younger mums in my care, and I do feel I relate to them well” she added. Her profession was also well supported by the NZ College of Midwives and the Midwifery Council of NZ.
“They give me loads of support. I have a mentor assigned to me for the first year, which is really helpful” she said.
All midwives are viewed every three years and are encouraged and assisted to attend regular workshops.
Naomi became a member of BPW Kaitaia through their Complimentary Membership programme. https://nzbpw.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/complementary-membership-to-bpw-kaitaia-available/
To find out more about this programme contact Raewyn Pennell at firstname.lastname@example.org