Midwifery at it’s core is about relationships. Deep heart felt connections with others (often woman to woman but not exclusively). Supporting, caring, holding space, witnessing and being a companion and guide throughout the unfolding perinatal period. To meet those taking that journey where they are at and helping them to navigate it with kindness and compassion. To also stand along side others called to this sacred work and be able to extent that same support, compassion and safe space holding to our colleagues and peers.
When I was called to midwifery THIS is what drew me in and I know many of you will be able to relate to this. Unfortunately so many of us feel deeply unsatisfied with midwifery at the moment for lots of different reasons but what I’d like to share is my understanding of one element that is playing out and how we can recognise it and challenge it to move forward.
From the beginning of time, women have instinctively ran in packs. Creating informal support groups, to laugh, cry, cook, care for each other during birth and with raising their families, grieve, rejoice, and commune and this can be seen across all cultures.
Then patriarchy and the burning times happened and a woman had two choices — submit to the ways of the “new” world and betray her sisters OR become an “outcast” and risk harm or even death. This divide between women was precisely the point for patriarchy. The more divided women became, the less power they had together…and believe me we are POWERFUL- they knew this and it scared them. So then if we are busy fighting amongst ourselves and turning on each other then we are not fighting against the patriarchy and challenging their agenda.
The Sister Wound is the manifestation of women living in a patriarchal society who have had to use unhealthy coping mechanisms to survive. Unfortunately so many midwives are practising a very matriarchal art (midwifery) through the framework of a very patriarchal system which leaves so many of us feeling conflicted, frustrated and unfulfilled. It’s not natural and we feel it.
Have you ever been hurt by another woman? Felt betrayed and rejected? Have you ever had side-eye and catty cackles directed at you by a group of other woman? Have you ever been side lined, belittled, competed with and not supported by other women?
That’s the sister wound playing out!
It also shows up like lack of trust, insecurity and feeling anxious and unsafe amongst other women, particularly in groups. Feeling jealous or like you just can’t compete with the ‘shine’ of other women are also common.
Midwives turn on each other, on the students, on other colleagues and even on the women they are caring for sometimes, all out of fear and self preservation and this is the sister wound being activated time and time again.
So that essence of fulfilling midwifery practice and that true feeling of connected sisterhood is lost. We don’t feel safe showing up as our true self. We hide away, play small and our roar becomes a whisper. Our power stays lost.
It’s not our fault that we have ended up here but we are all responsible for what happens from here on in. To start to turn the tide we need to first be honest with ourselves and challenge the sister wound and how it shows up for us.
Helping midwives and student midwives to be honest with themselves about some of the subconscious patterns they have been stuck in is a fundamental part of the work that I do as an emotional health coach. Helping them to challenge their beliefs and ways of thinking and behaving to be able able to show up authentically with healthy self expression without fear of judgement or rejection for who they really are.
I’ll be talking more about healing the sister wound and strategies for this in another blog as it’s a huge topic. I may create a workshop if people want to learn more about it…so watch this space!
How have you seen the sister wound playing out in midwifery or even in yourself?