Interview With a Midwife 2

midwife in berlin midwifes interview

Once in a while I want to share interviews I did with other midwifes living and working in Germany.

I love for them to tell you why they have chosen to become a midwife and what keeps them going.

Here we go with my

Interview Number 2

1. Hello, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I’m Steffi, 31 years old and working as a freelance midwife in Berlin since 2009.

2.Why did you become a midwife?

During my whole childhood I was moved by the topics pregnancy, birth and newborns. As I am a single child I always dreamed of having a sibling. Unfortunately it stayed a dream. At my first internship I witnessed a birth and knew immediately that I wanted to become a midwife.

3. Since when are you working as a midwife?

I trained at the midwifery school in Erlangen from 2006-2009 and since 2009 I’ve been working in Berlin.

4. What do you love about your profession?

I love accompanying women and couples during this intense time of becoming parents. 

I like encouraging women that their body is made for this phase of their life. The most important time for me is the time leading up to birth, building the self- confidence of the mother- to -be and encouraging her, not to leave all responsibility regarding pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period with doctors and midwives.

5. What do you dislike/ hate about it?

I often do not feel appreciated in our society as a midwife, being payed 7,50 € an hour. 

I am the expert regarding pregnancy, birth and postpartum outcome, and this is what I want to do. However, beside the low pay rate, the working hours are not very family friendly and rather unpredictable.

6. How many couples have you looked after over the years?

Puh, difficult question, I guess around 300 couples.

7. Has the way you work changed over the years?

Yes, with increasing work experience my work method has changed. 

I was able to learn from more experienced colleagues and that has changed my professional life over the past years.

I have learned to strictly separate work and private life, something that can get easily mixed as you often get text messages at 11.00 pm with questions like: the poo of the baby is now green and not yellow, what do I have to do? Nowadays, after 7 pm I only use my mobile phone privately.

8. Describe a regular working day of yours to us?

Currently, I am not offering births, meaning no 24 hours on call. So I have rather regulated working hours. 

I start in the morning at 8.00 am and most of the time I see pregnant women at the midwifery praxis for antenatal care and consultations. 

Afterwards I visit the new families in their home to give advice and support.Such an appointment usually takes about 45 to 60 mins.

I cycle everywhere, as there is enough work for me in Neukölln, and I do not have to travel further.

Due to family matters I am currently working part time, meaning I have 4 to 5 appointments a day and I am back home in the afternoon. Occasionally I have a birth preparation class in the evening or at the weekend. I also visit new mums and their babies at the weekend.

9. What is your personal view on the political situation of the German midwives at the minute?

Politics are playing on time. The strong impact of capitalism can be felt in the healthcare sector too. Every service has to be profitable first and foremost. This is especially difficult in healthcare settings where profitability and humanity do not go well together. The urge to be profitable in midwifery leads to various negative consequences. Overflowing maternity wards, midwives that have to take care for 5 women simultaneously, further closing of needed maternity units that can lead to 50 minutes driving for pregnant women to get to the next maternity ward are just some of the problems occurring in the last years. And of course, the decrease in midwives due to the bad working conditions. 

While the situation is already crucial, the system, thanks to the efforts of the midwives doing a large number of extra hours, is still working. However, political stakeholders and the monetary funds will be getting only active, if the system fails. Before that, the call for help will remain unanswered. The stakeholders will continue to play on time. 

Another problem is the dividedness of the various associations representing midwives. We are only a small professional group, but there are several organisations wanting to represent us. These organisations do not work well together. A first step would be to bring them all to one table and to speak with one voice!

10. Your personal advice on how pregnant ladies can find a midwife?.

Most important is the search for a suitable midwife in an early stage of pregnancy. This is important: getting to know each other and  building trust takes time. In my opinion, it is absolutely justified to enlist the help of a midwife before the 12th maternity week. In the sad case of a miscarriage, midwives can be a great help as the woman has someone professional to talk to and doesn’t need to go through the situation alone.

11. Do you mind sharing your funniest/ happiest story of your working life with us?

A birth by phone. During a rather quick birth of a woman who already had a child, I was stuck in traffic. I was not able to be on time for the birth. However, I coached her partner by phone. I told him what he should to and what not. I guided him through the various steps, talking to him about what will happen next. He told me, that the head was visible, then the eyes, nose and now the head again. I told him to relax and wait for the next contraction. He then told me that the head of the baby was turning. I responded that he had to hold the baby at the shoulders when they appear and to catch the baby. Next thing I hear are screams and joyful cries accompanied by „he is here, he is here, we made it!“. At that moment I heard the newborn crying and was very relieved. I asked them to lie down and wait for me. 3 minutes later, I attended the birth of the placenta. The whole situation was very exciting for all involved.


 12. Your personal wish for a pregnant lady- the expectant couple?

I wish pregnant women and couples to find the right place to give birth under good care. I also hope that they allow themselves some relaxed time together after the birth to grow together as a new family. 

Thank you Steffi.

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