Return to Newsroom & Events > Get Connected

Pearls from the First Year: Be Water

by Guest Blogger Aubre Tompkins, CNM

Aubre Tompkins, CNM, is beginning her second year as a midwife. She has been guest blogging about the lessons she’s learned during her first year in a series for ACNM. Check out her first three posts here:
Pearls #1 and #2: Remember to Breathe, and Listen
Pearl #3: Emotions are Healthy
Pearl #4: Be Humble

When you’re starting out, it can take time to get your “midwife legs,” and develop your own personal way of doing things. You can and will choose bits and pieces from your teachers and preceptors. You will create your own bits and pieces through experience. As my legs are developing and growing, I have realized something: I am not one particular type of midwife all the time. In fact, I know without a doubt that I am several different midwives all wrapped up into one package. Of course, my underlying foundation is strong and consistent. However, the outward expression of my skill and knowledge can and does vary. Sometimes, I am soft and warm, like a hot mineral spring. Other times, I am thunderous and steady like a waterfall. Each woman will require me to help create her own style and form. Some will prefer a clear, babbling brook. Each birth is a new world, one that has never been seen or felt before, and each space will create a unique shape to fill. This brings me to Pearl #5, Be Water. Water is tender yet strong, malleable yet persistent, and it forms to fit the character of each individual container. As a midwife, it is important to sense the atmosphere around you and adapt to the changing needs it presents.

Oceans, streams, lakes, and rivers; they are always in a dynamic state of growth and change, yet they retain their essential form. As midwives, we must remain firm in our foundational understanding while also continually striving to expand and update our knowledge base. This is a profession based on growth and change. As with water, stagnation can lead to poor quality. Midwives must avoid becoming set in their ways and remain open to the change around them.

As a practitioner, surrounded by the medical system, it can be difficult to support and empower women with the midwifery model of care. It is easy to feel as though the work is insurmountable, the challenge too great. When this happens, think of water. Picture the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls. Given time, no structure can withstand the strength of water. A single drop of rain may not have much power, but drops gather and collect in the waterways, their power in undeniable. Women and their families need and deserve midwifery care. We must come together, like the water, and with gentle strength strive to bring about the needed change in our maternity care system. Let’s work together to water the parts that are beneficial and wash away the parts that are flawed.

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.

Posted 1/3/2012 1:04:26 PM



Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. ACNM is not responsible for accuracy of any of the information provided by guest bloggers and/or members via the Comments section. We welcome all feedback – including comments, ideas and suggestions. We also welcome civil, friendly debates. However, any and all content that is deemed inflammatory or rude will not be posted.


© 2014 American College of Nurse-Midwives. All Rights Reserved. 8403 Colesville Rd, Suite 1550 • Silver Spring MD 20910 • Phone: 240-485-1800 • Fax: 240-485-1818