I'm not sure if my husband's words of praise are a thoughtful effort on his part to lift me or encourage me (no matter how 'easy,' uncomplicated, normal, or short a birth may be, the demands of what it is to be a midwife never change), but he makes sure to share this small praise with me often.
"I didn't do anything," I responded. Truly, this woman required very little of me. I was with her in my simple presence of just Being. My work included monitoring her baby and ensuring the normalcy of what was already naturally occurring.
A conversation stemming from his "good job" ensued.
"You obviously did do something. She got there at a great time in her labor, she had a good birth, no complications...You obviously had some part in orchestrating that." Yes, yes I did. But I know that we both already know that. And I recognize who did the most important work (not I). Should I be boastful? Should I be prideful? There is a difference with having pride and being prideful.
I drove home at 2:30 am, the Alaskan sky still glowing with light like the smoldering hot embers of a campfire that continues to persist. I marveled in the beauty of "summer birth" in Alaska, how easy it is compared to the dead darkness of the desolate winter. Tiredness doesn't cohabitate with Alaskan Summer, and at 2:30 am, it might as well have been 2:30 in the afternoon. I drove marveling over Pioneer Peak, while mulling over the value of Humility. When I got home, I quietly crept into my house, still light from the Midnight Sun and without need of turning on a light, devoured two cold pieces of pizza right out of the box that had sat there all afternoon and night. I crawled into bed beside my sleeping husband and baby, and further contemplated humility; what it means to be humble.
"Humility has nothing to do with depreciating ourselves and our gifts in ways we know to be untrue. Even 'humble' attitudes can be masks of pride. Humility is that freedom from our self which enables us to be in positions in which we have neither recognition nor importance, neither power nor visibility, and even experience deprivation, and yet have joy and delight. It is the freedom of knowing that we are not in the center of the universe, not even in the center of our own private universe." -David Wells
This speaks to midwifery and what I value in my heart.