• Gillian Sims

The Midwife

By Gillian Sims.

Dedicated to Shannon, whose courage was inspiring.


Weary is the soul

Of the midwife, poured out

In un-numbered hours,

Beside the mother whose labour is counted in days.


Aching is the body

Of the midwife, who returns

To routine mundane, displaying little

Of the struggle, nor the joy, nor the triumph

In which she has shared her place.


Heavy are the shoulders

Of the midwife, knowing well

Her greatest achievements lie hidden

Within the walls of the birthing room,

And the hushed tones of confidentiality.


Hidden, within the earliest hours of morning

As she embraces the arrival of time’s newest soul.

Hidden, behind the apologies

Of a perpetually rescheduled calendar,

Behind the solitude of paperwork,

The solitude of travel,

The solitude of responsibility.


Courageous is the midwife

Carrying concern, for the woman who discloses

And for the woman who does not.

Mastering the fear, ever present,

That threatens exhaustion, Threatens loss,

Threatens accusation for intervening,

Threatens accusation for not.


Wise is the midwife

Who reasons, diplomatic,

With the voice of opposing opinion,

“All is yet well. It will benefit us to wait”.


Knowing is the midwife, slowly nodding

In silence with mama-to-be;

As face-to-tear-soaked face,

And side-by-sweat-soaked side,

Mama protests, “I can not go on!”


Exhausted is the mother

Who wavers, peering into

The abyss of human limitation.

Doing battle with pain, and battle with doubt,

Doing battle with self, putting to death the lie,

“I am weak”.


Familiar is the midwife

With vulnerability, as she observes

Motherhood on the horizon,

Knowing that here, from this place, comes power,

Whether from within, or from without,

It rises, ancient, feminine, divine.


Powerful is the mother, now surrendered,

New strength rising from the abyss;

Surpassing her fears, urgent and overtaking,

The force of life: The will to push,

The will to fight, The will to love.


Courageous is the mother, reaching forward

Arms joyful, with all she has left.

And time, passing by, stops still

As midwife and eternity wait, hinged

Upon the cries of creation’s first breaths.


She is born! And with her

A new courage. A new Power. A new strength.

A new mother.


Lifted is the soul

Of the midwife, poured out

In un-numbered hours

Beside the woman who’s labour is counted in days.



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