The joyous birth of a baby and the hope for 2021

Posted on: 29 December 2020

A new year, a new beginning, and 2020 is certainly a year we probably all want to leave behind. Healthcare professionals in particular have had a tough time – dealing with a coronavirus pandemic on top of the usual hard work and staff shortages has not been easy. But, as we struggle through the last few days of 2020, we can look forward to a new year of promise and greater freedom.

The joyous birth of a baby and the hope for 2021

Christmas and the new year highlight a time when the birth of a baby captivates a media audience. It represents a very special time of year to welcome a new baby into a family and a community. But each and every birth, throughout the entire calendar year, is a joyous event, full of excitement and promise, a new turning point in the couple’s lives heralding the start of a lifetime of parenthood.

Every year, midwives in Ireland assist over 30,000 women to birth their babies themselves (and then work with obstetricians to help a further 30,000 women to give birth by caesarean section or assisted by instruments). It is such an honour, being a midwife, and witnessing the first few minutes of a baby’s life, and the pride and ecstasy of a woman who has worked so hard for this moment. The word ‘midwife’ means ‘with woman’ and that is what we do; through weeks of pregnancy and hours of labour we work ‘with women’, supporting and guiding them to become mothers. The pandemic decreased the amount of interaction possible between women and midwives, so we developed a free online course to give all women access to evidence-based information about labour and birth – you can join it HERE. 

Midwives are experts in the normal, and skilled at dealing with the abnormal. We trust women’s bodies and their amazing ability to give birth; but if something goes amiss, we can help a new-born take their first breath, or act swiftly to stop a woman from haemorrhaging. That’s why, at the end of a gruelling thirteen-hour shift, we still go home smiling. And no matter how dark the first few weeks of January may seem, or what the rest of 2021 throws at us, just remember there will be 60,000 new babies born into 60,000 families, so there is lots to celebrate for 2021.

Written by Professor Cecily Begley, Chair of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin.

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