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International Day of the Midwife 2016

Today was International Day of the Midwife (IDM), this year themed 'Women and Newborns: The Heart of Midwifery! In Ljublana, it didn't went unnoticed, as we, midwifery students, occupied the central square near the famous Triple Bridge. Apart from stands with information, there was a 2 kilometer Midwifery Run to bring our beautiful profession into the limelight.

'I am a midwife, this is what I do'

The above is the slogan used for this year's IDM social media campaign (#IDM2016), inviting midwives from across the globe to share a photo and some words about what they do to give women and newborns the best possible care. Talking to some of my fellow students, I noticed how differently the role of a midwife is worked out from country to country. For me, used to the Belgian context, Slovenian midwifes have a rather independent role. Although home births are not an established here, midwives are the ones who guide the low risk labours in a clinical setting and conduct the deliveries. Some fellow students from Estonia, on the other hand, told me that they considered Slovenian midwives to be less independent than their Estionian counterparts and their role to be rather limited. It illustrates that the position of the midwife is still subject of debate and too often under pressure. Personally, I think that the encounter with a midwife differs in character from one with a gynecologist or a doula. That is why I would advocate for an own, independent role of midwives. In Slovenian, they aren't called babica, also the word for (wise) grandmother, for nothing. All women should be enabled to draw from that well.

"May the wise midwives of today leave their special mark in the hearts of women with their knowledge, respect, loving kindness and warmth so very much needed by the birthing women, as well as their children longing to find themselves earthside, breathing with lungs fully for the very first time. May they be there with their loving support when couples become families and when families expand - changing the world one mother, one baby, one family at the time. Wishing all the very best to all the midwives of this world on this International Day of the Midwife!" ~ Ksenija Malia Leban

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