by Guest Blogger Aubre Tompkins, CNM
Aubre Tompkins, CNM, is finishing up her first year as a midwife. She has been
guest blogging about the lessons she’s learned this year in a series for ACNM.
Check out her first two posts here:
#1 and #2: Remember to Breathe, and Listen
#3: Emotions are Healthy
I have a confession to make. I am guilty of a common pitfall. When I was
pregnant with my first child, I thought that my midwives were so wonderful, so
great, that I placed them on a pedestal. When I was pregnant with my second
child, this same phenomenon happened yet again. Then, through the course of my
studies, I had a tendency to idolize my teachers and mentors. My eyes were full
of stardust and, to me, these women were so fantastic that the pedestal effect
occurred once more. I couldn’t wait to join the ranks of these elevated women. Women
who were so smart and kind, who seemed so “put together” and to know all the
answers. Once I really started walking down my own path toward midwifery, I was
nervous about this transformation. When was I going to join the ranks of those
elevated midwives? On what day would I feel this lifting of my own self?
Thankfully, eventually, the stardust began to clear and I realized that there
was no elevation that would magically happen. That I was already blessed to be
in the ranks of these women….firmly planted on the ground, with not a pedestal
in sight. This leads to one of the most important lessons I have learned, Pearl #4…Be Humble! Yes, we are highly trained and skilled
practitioners. We are also human beings with our own strengths and flaws, and
are no better or worse than the women and families we serve.
is one of the most dangerous complications of our practice. If you ever think
that “you know it all” or “have seen it all,” this is the time to step back and
take stock. Every woman, each pregnancy and every baby are a completely unique
set of variables. Each will benefit from an individual plan and a fresh
perspective. One of the many things that I cherish about this work is that it
is never boring; there is always something more to learn. These lessons come to
us via many sources—through
educational institutions, from our professional organization, through
colleagues, from continuing education credits. However, some of the most
valuable sources of these lessons are from our clients. Each encounter is an
opportunity to broaden our knowledge base. In my experience so far, every time
I have thought that I know exactly how a woman’s labor would progress, how a
well-woman exam would go, or how a postpartum recovery will flow, I have very
quickly been shown the error of my ways. As you progress on your own path,
remember, there is always more to learn and additional experiences to gather.
If you ever feel 100% comfortable, be mindful as this can lead to complacency.
Be always humble and open to the lessons along the way and you will never
Aubre Tompkins became a certified nurse-midwife
in 2010. She has a busy family, with three fantastic children and a great
husband. She lives in Denver and works at Colorado's only freestanding birth
center, Mountain Midwifery Center. She has been learning to knit for the past 3
years and is almost done with her first scarf. Her blog, With
Woman, The First Year…And Beyond, is a chronicle of her experiences from her developing career.