The Transition from Working ‘With System’ to Working ‘With Woman’,

My Journey from Midwife to Birth Keeper

In the world of childbirth, there exists a sacred bond between the expectant mother and her caregiver. Traditionally, midwives have held the role of guiding women through the miraculous journey of pregnancy and childbirth. However, a growing movement is emerging within the birthing community – that of the birth keeper. More than just a professional attendant, a birth keeper embodies the ancient wisdom of childbirth, providing holistic support that extends beyond medical care. Let us explore my journey from a midwife to a birth keeper, embracing a deeper connection to the spiritual and emotional aspects of childbirth.


Embracing the Calling:

For many midwives, the transition to becoming a birth keeper is a natural evolution driven by a profound calling to serve women during one of life’s most transformative experiences. This calling often arises from a deep-seated belief in the innate power of women’s bodies and the importance of nurturing a supportive and empowering environment for childbirth. For me personally I needed to listen to my soul’s purpose and take on the role of truly being ‘with woman’ and not the one I was playing under the guise of being a midwife which had started to feel more like an obstetric handmaiden. A big part for me in the initial decision to become a midwife was the promise of autonomous practice, I’m am uncertain as to how many midwives still within the system would say they feel they have the opportunities to provide autonomous care. The current system is failing women by only offering a ‘one size fits all’ approach to care provision. There are several studies highlighting the benefits and importance of continuity of care for mother’s and babies, yet the current systemic approach is unable to offer this model of care due to pressures of under staffing.


Holistic Care:

While midwives focus on providing medical care and support during pregnancy and childbirth, birth keepers take a more holistic approach, encompassing physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the birthing journey. They recognise that childbirth is not merely a physiological process but a profound rite of passage that requires nurturing and reverence. Birth Keepers offer a plethora of options for women that would never be considered in an already overstretched system. Women need to feel listened to, safe and supported during their pregnancy experience. Birth keepers can take their time to really explore individual options, provide non-biased information to assist informed decision making and offer a variety of alternative practices and solutions that are not medicine based.  Women who feel heard and cared for during the birthing process are less likely to perceive the experience as traumatic. A woman who feels empowered by her experience will create a ripple effect and increase the health and well-being of her whole family.


Creating Sacred Spaces:

Birth keepers understand the importance of creating a sacred and safe space for childbirth. From setting the ambiance with soothing music and dim lighting to incorporating rituals and affirmations, they strive to cultivate an environment that respects the spiritual significance of birth. Birth keepers can become the gate keepers of the birthing environment. When a trusting relationship is formed between a woman and her birth keeper the birth keeper can truly advocate and support a woman when she is most vulnerable. By having time to really listen to and discover how a woman wishes her birth experience to be during the antenatal period a birth keeper can create that supportive bond so a woman can feel safe and held. This is a stark contrast to the systemic approach whereby it is common for a woman to meet the midwife attending her birth on the day itself and quite often when the woman is already in established labour and in a very vulnerable state. Putting a woman in an unfamiliar environment surrounded by strangers offering all kinds of intimate examinations and interventions is surely setting these women up for failure? And yet we wonder how the caesarean section rate is ever increasing as is the incidence of birth trauma! As a birth keepers’ role is simply to be ‘with woman’ they can assist in creating an optimal environment for birth in any setting. A midwife who is working ‘with system’ does often not have the freedom to support women in ways they know is best for the individual.


Empowering Women (and partners):

Central to the role of a birth keeper is the empowerment of women throughout their birthing experience. Through education, emotional support, and advocacy, birth keepers empower women to trust their bodies, make informed decisions, and embrace the transformative power of childbirth. Let’s not forget the partners, a birth keeper also builds trusting relationships with partners and any other members of the birth support team. It can be common in a systemic approach to pregnancy and birth that partners often feel pushed aside and unheard, during what is an important time of transition for them too. Becoming a parent is huge and is not just transformational for a woman. If partners feel supported and safe too, again it strengthens their relationship with their partners and in turn promotes the well-being of the whole family.


Honouring the Sacred Circle:

In many cultures, childbirth has been surrounded by ritual and ceremony, symbolizing the sacred circle of life. Birth keepers draw upon these ancient traditions, honouring the spiritual significance of childbirth and facilitating rituals that celebrate the journey of bringing new life into the world. A birth keepers’ approach can encompass the culture and traditions of the families they are supporting. Midwives often don’t have the time or resources to embrace and celebrate such diversity.


Supporting the Postpartum Journey:

breastfeeding course

Beyond the birthing process, birth keepers continue to provide support during the postnatal period, recognising the importance of nurturing the physical and emotional well-being of new mothers and their families. Whether offering breastfeeding support, assisting with newborn care, or simply providing a listening ear, birth keepers are committed to walking alongside women as they navigate the joys and challenges of early motherhood. Birth keepers prepare their clients and support them during the fourth trimester. As a midwife I was often left feeling frustrated when I didn’t have the time to support women during this vulnerable period of transition. I often had busy postnatal clinics with short appointment times where women left feeling rushed and unheard. A birth keeper has the time to continue to hold space for woman as they evolve into motherhood. Currently women involved in systemic care are left to navigate this new world of parenthood alone after about two weeks. No wonder there is an epidemic of postnatal depression! In my role as a birth keeper now I support my clients for a minimum of six weeks after birth and regularly remain in contact for years after their children are born. I am often kept informed of their children’s milestones and get regular updates as they continue to grow. It’s a real pleasure seeing these children and their parents thrive and develop, something that I rarely encountered during my years as a midwife.



The transition from midwife to birth keeper represents a profound shift in how we approach childbirth – from a medical event to a sacred journey of transformation. By embracing the holistic nature of childbirth and honouring the spiritual and emotional aspects of the birthing process, birth keepers play a vital role in nurturing the journey of childbirth and empowering women to embrace the evolutionary power of motherhood.  For me personally becoming a birth keeper feels like I am fulfilling my soul’s purpose and answering my true calling. I now no longer feel frustrated with my work, in fact it rarely feels like work these days as I am doing something I really love. I feel such privilege witnessing new families being created, seeing women become empowered, and holding space as new life enters the world. My role as a birth keeper is simply magical. I now only work from love and not fear and the difference in outcomes is outstanding. I am so grateful for the woman and families who choose me to support them in this transformative period of their lives, I feel honoured to serve and protect them.  As we continue to celebrate the ancient wisdom of childbirth, let us embrace the role of the birth keeper as a guardian of the sacred circle of life.  Women and families of this world need more birth keepers. Imagine a world where women felt empowered rather than traumatised by their birth experiences and babies entered this world in a safe space filled with love, wouldn’t that be just magical?


Deeper Learning:

If my journey resonates with you, you are a frustrated midwife looking for change or someone who is passionate about supporting women during pregnancy and childbirth, please get in touch to see how I could support you on your journey. If you are a woman looking for birth keeper support check out When Push Comes to Shove (WPCTS) Directory. WPCTS is the leading platform for offering holistic maternity care. Alternatively if you reside within the West Midlands and would like to explore the possibility of me supporting your birth experience contact me at New Additions.