It can be such a wonderful job catching gorgeous healthy babies, but we should remember that sometimes we also work with women who are experiencing the death of their baby.
For some midwives this can understandably be one of the more difficult aspects of the career, but it is an incredibly important part of the role.
Initially, we help mothers deliver the baby, then we support the parent/s in their grief. We wash and clothe the baby and document them for posterity by taking photos, fingerprints and hand or feet moulds for the family to cherish.
Helping people work through their grief is central to this experience. We are probably getting better at this offering a range of ways for the family to spend time with their baby. We can facilitate it so that they can spend as much time as they need and the clothing programs in all hospitals that I know of are great, as there are clothes or little pouches to put them in so that the babies have something special to wear, which can mean a lot to the parents.
I remember one lady who needed time to say goodbye to her baby. Each day for three days she would come and visit. I would collect the infant from the mortuary, make sure they looked presentable and wrap them in a warm blanket so she could give them a cuddle. She just needed that time to say goodbye.
This family stayed in my thoughts for some time and almost a year later it was wonderful when the mother sought me out with her healthy newborn baby.