Birthday gives midwife chance to see families

By Ilona Hanne

Stratford midwife Sharon Robinson is celebrating her 50th birthday in style.

"I had two desires for it, to complete a skydive with my family and to have a party to which I could invite all the families that I have worked with as a midwife."

The skydive was duly done, with her children joining in; Roselle, whom Sharon describes as her adopted Kiwi daughter, Hannah, Sarah and Will.

Family members were involved in preparations for the party, on Monday at Stratford's War Memorial Hall, and friends were co-opted to help prepare cupcakes, each decorated with an edible figurine of a baby, for the expected 400 guests.

Sharon says she views herself as being "an honoured guest" at each of the 750-plus births she has been part of in her 10 years as a Stratford midwife.

She adds that working in a community such as Stratford, which she and her family visited during a holiday from their previous home in Cambodia, means she can walk down the street and see families she has worked with.

"I see the babies grow up".

She tells of a recent delivery where the father was someone she had met at a previous birth, only that time he had been the big brother. "At the time I had thought 'what a wonderful big brother this young man is going to be'."

When the Stratford Press interviewed Sharon, she was wearing a "very special" necklace. It comprises beads given to her by women whose babies she has helped deliver.

They made it for Sharon after she directed them in a play, called Birth, that was performed for the New Zealand Homebirth Association conference in New Plymouth last year. Each bead was chosen by the woman who gave it. Two of the beads are made out of wood used to build a yurt (a tent used by nomads in areas of central Asia) that one of Sharon's patients birthed her baby in.

Sharon and Dave chose New Zealand because they were looking for a country where she could work as a midwife, "in a way where my philosophy of care as a midwife would be supported".

One of the things that Sharon loves about her role as a midwife is that she gets to see what the rest of the world doesn't about individual relationships; the intimacy between a woman and her birth partner, be they husband, partner, mother, sister or friend.

She is also honoured by the trust she receives.

"These families are trusting me with the most valuable thing in their lives."

- Stratford Press

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