January 04, 2023 3 min read

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Melese Gabure is a Senior Midwife and Masters Student in Reproductive Health based out of Ethiopia. Gabure is also a coordinator for maternal, newborn, and child health at the Dr. Bogalech Gebre Memorial General Hospital. The following blog post was written by Gabure regarding his journey to becoming a midwife in Ethiopia.

My name is Melese. I was born in the rural, Southern part of Ethiopia. When I was a child, I used to listen to stories about my friends’ mothers dying during childbirth. As I grew up, I began hearing about the same cause of death more frequently. Thus, since very young, I asked myself questions like: “Why does one mother die during childbirth while another does not?”, “How could a mother die but the child survives?” or instead, “How come a mother can survive while the child does not?”

As a seventh grader, I asked my biology teacher several questions while we were talking about “secondary sexual characteristics” (features that appear during puberty in humans). I asked him what causes maternal death during childbirth, why the menstrual cycle only occurs in females, and why a woman’s fertility declines earlier in time compared to men. Although the teacher answered all my questions, I only remember him saying one thing: “In Ethiopia, there are (only) a few professionals who can attend to the giving birth process appropriately.” That day, it never crossed my mind that I would be joining such an expensive profession, but my dream came true as I joined university and graduated as a competent midwife. 

During my journey of becoming a midwife, people had a lot of comments and questions. People kept saying things like “You are a male, can you really handle it?” or “Oh! You’re not going to have a life (as a midwife).” Despite these words, I believed in one thing: career has no gender, nor does your dream or passions. Anyone can succeed with hard work. 

Midwifery was the thing that caught my attention. As a health professional, you must treat patients with knowledge, passion, and all your heart. However, as a midwifery, you learn the added art and skill of generational care (pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum period), and the sexual and reproductive health of women throughout their lives. Since this fascinated me, I decided to study midwifery and become a midwife. 

The practice of midwifery is tedious. I spend multiple nights without adequate rest as I follow and tend to mothers in labor. Moreover, I miss multiple holidays and family gatherings due to my duties in the maternity ward. But since my first clinical contact until now, my fatigue is compensated by my work relieving clients from their physical and psychological stress. Missed holidays with my parents and family are compensated by my experiences extending appropriate care to my clients and making sure they are not worried. My body, mind, and spirit overflows with my clients’ blessings. There is no other place besides my clients’ bedsides that gives me holistic pleasure. 

In many sub-Saharan countries including Ethiopia (which is where I’m from), there are profound reproductive health problems that remain to be addressed by the government. At my current workplace, I face many challenges treating reproductive health problems that can be easily prevented if women were adequately educated and screened during antenatal care and postnatals follow ups. 

Story written by Melese Gabure and developed by Kaitlyn Gosakti

1 Response

Martha Hoffman Goedert
Martha Hoffman Goedert

August 15, 2023

Melese, your comments on the missed sleep, on family holidays missed, on the heart, soul, and mind compensations that come from being at the bedside of birthing families are poignant. You speak as a midwife who has found a calling and a passion for service; your approach and care will also be needed in midwifery education. Passing the torch of compassion and hard work onto the next generation of midwives can also be an amazing part of your career path. Wherever you land with your work, always keep your hands, heart, and head working for mothers and babies at the bedside. Care for pregnant families centers a midwife and creates real-life experiences that help others see that at the center of our work, we must care for and about the lives and outcomes of birth for those we serve. Thank you for your message.

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