For midwife Claudie Exume, love has everything do to with it. It is love for her Haitian sisters that compelled her to become a midwife. When she noticed a lot of women in her hometown dying in childbirth, she decided to do something about it. “I thought if I went into women’s health I could help my community,” she says. Now, a staff midwife at Hospital Ste, Therese for four years, delivering quality care to each mother and baby she cares for is literally an act of love.
And isn’t love what binds all midwives? Midwifery is one of the only professions that one typically feels “called to” do. Midwives feel a deep love and responsibility to women. When you take away the geographic and clinical differences, the essence of midwifery is the same.
We have volunteer midwives from all over the world come to Haiti to support our students and graduates. It is one way that volunteers continue to stay connected to their own work and also to other midwives. Longtime volunteer Wendy Dotson, CNM, once told an incoming class of Midwives For Haiti students, “I believe that being a midwife is a spiritual calling. When we take this job, it is a responsibility to care for women and babies at their most delicate time. And if we have this responsibility, it is not only toward the women in our own towns and countries. We are responsible to help care for all women, and to help protect them as best we can through their childbearing time. So even though I am an American midwife, I am a midwife first.”
We are midwives first. We act from love. And from that love, and the skills that are learned, the lives of Haitian mothers and babies are saved and improved. So, for each student we train and the hundreds and thousands of mothers and babies they will serve throughout their careers, the ripple effect of this love is exponential. Student by student, birth by birth, we are part of a revolution even bigger than improved maternal and infant health statistics. This is a revolution of love.
On Valentine’s Day, let us not forget the love that binds us. Whether you are a midwife, believe in midwives, or simply treasure mothers and want them to have the best care, the common denominator we share is love. Claudie will care for dozens of mothers this month as they labor to bring their children into this world, safely and with dignity. In a country with a severe shortage of skilled birth attendants and the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the Western Hemisphere, Claudie will be there in their most vulnerable moments, making sure they are safe, supported, and loved.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to Caludie and the work of Midwives For Haiti.