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Through Jochebed Shifra , a nation of priests was born. There is something about being present at a birth. Perhaps it is because of their trade that Shifra and Puah developed such faith in their conviction. Perhaps it was because they witnessed the miracle of life unfold before their eyes that they found the strength to face the challenge to kill or be killed—and overcome it with power and grace. And they won. This strength has been handed down all the way from our ancestral midwives to the modern midwives of today.

Using our bodies and releasing our minds and of course realizing that God is in the picture brings it all together beautifully. Bringing a life into the world is one of the most holy things we can do as human beings. Having the proper attitude about birth is very empowering and you can use the techniques through any type of labor. May we always experience healthy and safe births for moms and babies and embraced the whole process as a family unit! Thank you for your beautiful article! As a midwife myself who has a Holy fear of G-d Almighty this article made me weep.

It is perfectly written and captures birth and midwives with perfection. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. As a representative of the Pastoral Medical Association PMA , we license midwives and associated persons relating to midwives. I am proud to see more and more such work practice in God's name. Thank you and may God bless each and every one. Article re midwives I came upon your article quite accidntally while looking for quite something else, was it so accidental, I wonder I sadly, have not had the joy of giving birth to my own childern, partly due to the sudden and early death of my first husband.

However, perhaps because of the "double portion" of grief that his death caused, ie the death of my life partner and with it the virtual death of the hope for a family, "birthing" became the metaphor for my grief, and when I subsequently "walked with" others in their grief, I then took on the role of "midwife", ie helping them to "birth" their pain. I have always loved the story of the two Hebrew midwives, and so appreciate learnign more. Wonderful post!

Birth Wisdom, Volume Two: A Collection of Editorials from Midwifery Today Magazine

I am a birthing doula and lay lactation consultant I whole heartedly support this article. Pregnancy and birth are a journey with many blessings and lessons to learn along the way if we are listening closely. I still remember the moment in each of my three births when I looked up into my midwife's eyes and, panicked, said "I can't do this. You ARE doing this. Midwives have a special gift for honoring and empowering women, instead teaching them that they are broken and inadequate. Thank you for honoring that gift.

Re: Not Happy If you educate yourself on the natural birth movement, you will learn that it is FOR the safety of the mothers and babies that midwives practice the way they do. In fact, pain-relieving drugs and other medical interventions increase the number of complications in birth. Natural birth is cheaper AND safer. Homebirth with a skilled midwife being the cheapest and safest of all. Studies show this.

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When I chose the name I did not know the meaning, but I later found out that it was the name of the woman who rescued Moses and other boy babies in Europe. I didn't know she was a midwife, but it is definitely fitting- I gave birth to my daughter at home, with two midwives and two midwifery students in attendance. Our midwives are very strong, spiritual women, and I am very glad to have honored them indirectly by naming my daughter Shifra! Thank you for bringing out "Through Jochebed Shifra , a nation of priests was born.

This was new information for me. It was a lengthy course but she gained hospital privileges in a time when midwifes were seen as quacks. She knows when to call the OBGYN on call and when to allow the mother to give birth with no intervention. Our skilled Shifra and Puah no doubt knew when to call in back-up as well.

I enjoy when an article has Torah explanation. I appreciate that you pointed out that the 'houses' Ha'shem built for these women were Holy offspring that will indeed bring about the coming of Moshiac - most hopefully soon! My gratitude for your writing. Not Happy I am the mother of 7 children between the ages of 19 and I am not happy with certain aspects of the natural birth movement.

I don't like playing into the "let's save money by getting the least but still capable person" attitude of clinics: that is, a volunteer doula instead of a Certified Nurse Midwife instead of a medical resident instead of an experienced ob-gyn to handle births. Or, how about hospitals keeping the anesthetist "on call" so that all the women who don't use drugs to deliver still have to pay for it? Pain management is now a medical specialty, but there is no official interest in developing safer medicines to assist women through painful labor.

Ironically, women have to rely on releasing their bodies' own endorphins free and unlimited natural painkillers which the hospitals love because of the zero cost. Birthing women are treated like repugnant aliens who get tossed out the millisecond their insurance companies stop paying. Other Cool site. I am a midwife, called by the Shechinah Divine Presence to do this holy work.

I consider my self a blend of science and the sacred and am blessed to have a wonderfull group of Jewish families who want this way of caring in their childbearing cycle. Thank you for putting our Holy Ancestresses example out there for others to follow. May you be blessed in your own work.

And Mikvah attendants too who are a comfort to women in these roles only bring holiness, and blessing to our lives. What a beautiful story! This story is so touching and brings tears of joy to my eyes.

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Thanks for posting this to make us enjoy the Parsha of the week better with Kavanah, appreciation, and understanding. Have a good week.

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Great timing! Dear Mrs Zadok, Sometimes divine providence really looks you in the eyes and says: You are not alone! With many thanx to G-d I graduated as a certified midwife in July and please G-d tomorrow I will be starting my first real job! I really believe that by me only reading your article now am I less nervous then what I was because I too now have the faith that G-d will be with me during my spiritual work.

Thank you for all your kind blessings. In a hospital setting where you have regulations and volume, it is easy to forget that gift. It is sad. I have been in the birth movement for 34 years.

Witness its birth in a town where women trained other women to apprentice for this beautiful gift. We did home birth. Birthing women were our teachers. I witness the increasing changes of both midwifes style and family choices. Yet no matter where you give birth you should feel empowered, respected and mostly safe. Both types of jobs purify a woman to bring life into this world. What a lovely connection here. Midwives are so important in helping us women feel the self-confidence to birth babies naturally.

I had my first baby emercency c-section, 2nd no drugs, nothing-- with a nurse-midwife at at hospital, 3rd in a wooded area by the side of the road halfway to the same hospital! But it was home-birth midwives who gave me the confidencce, as well as women who had seen unassisted births for me to make it through that last one! I did go the hospital afterwards, and it was lucky because there were some things they needed to take care of. So my advice is, go as natural as you can, but keep a hospital nearby for medical help.

Hopefully someday in the near future the USA will have some with the best of both worlds in one place like there is in Europe. Thank G-d for the safe birth and healthy children. Questionable logic What does the use of drugs presumably to mitigate the pain of delivery have to do with the appreciation of midwives and the miracle of birth? One of the finest doctors I know, who was head of the Medical College of Wisconsin's OB-GYN department, told me that he greatly respected the work of midwives and that the best mid-wives also know when it is appropriate to call a physician for assistance.

Increasingly, midwives and OB-GYN's are working hand in hand and supporting each other's areas of expertise.

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