It’s a pleasure to meet you. No, really it is. I love the anticipation of peeking into your curtained cubicle at the start of my shift, not knowing you yet, not knowing whether you are crazy high on post-birth endorphins, wrung out exhausted, wary, pissed off, fretful and anxious, or just mellow and cruising. I want to know you, hold your hand through these next eight hours of your motherhood, listen to your rambling reflections on your birth experience, make you a decent cup of tea, kick out the visitors that you didn’t want, coo over your gorgeous baby, make your bed up with fresh, cool sheets. I want you to feel able to call on me for whatever you need, to feel cared for and mothered. Please don’t apologise for pressing your buzzer to call me…unless it’s just to tell me that your baby moved her arm. That is excellent and thrilling, but not absolutely buzzer-worthy. Good grief, I’m rambling already. It happens a lot, sorry. Anyway, before we get started there’s something I must show you. Look over here.
Let me gesture to my impressively enormous Bias – there it is, right out there on the table. I call it ‘Yay-Breastfeeding!’, or YB! for short. It’s quite large now, as I’ve nursed it well (no pun intended) over the years. We get along famously, my Bias and I. It’s like one of those friends you had as a kid. You know, the ones that your mum called a ‘bad influence’ because whenever you were together you were a little bit hyper, a bit wild and loud, prone to that screechy shrieking that six year old girls have perfected? My Bias follows me most everywhere and sometimes we get a bit rowdy. Often, Bias makes me get kind of wild-eyed and preachy, waving my hands around and gesturing helpfully at my own breasts. And sometimes, when we’re standing up high on our matching soap boxes, shouting ‘Breast Is Totally The Best!! Chuck Out The Rest – Of Your Tins Of Dehydrated Cow’s Milk!!’ I guess Bias and I can be a little bit intimidating.
So you’ve met my Bias, dear and lovely woman. You’ve met, the slightly awkward do-we-hug-or-shake-hands-or-just-kinda-nod? moment has passed. Now, just excuse me for a minute, while I escort Bias out of the room. She can wait in the tea-room and hang out with the other midwives when they’re on a break. I love her, but I do try not to let her distract me while I’m working. I know she’s not everybody’s cup of tea. Mmmmm, tea. Oh, sorry, easily distracted. In my fantasy world everyone would love my Bias and we’d all hold hands and sing and dance and be BFsF. But this is not my fantasy world. This is a public hospital. You have your own fantasy world, your own issues, your own hopes and dreams. You have your very own Biases, I’m sure, and you don’t have to be friends with mine. I’ll still be your midwife.
But I ask you just one thing – be straight with me. Don’t pretend to like my Bias. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. If you truly think you could love her, I will move mountains to get you well acquainted. I will pour my heart and soul into hooking you up. But don’t be all nicey nice about her to my face and then slag her off to the next midwife that comes along. Really. I mean it. Our time together is short. Don’t waste it.