Emily Leslie, CNM
A Midwife at Neighborhood Family Practice
Why did you become a midwife?
I have always believed in the strength and power of women and have been amazed by the awesome things our bodies and minds can do. I knew I wanted to help empower women so they could feel confident in making their own choices about whether to have children, and how and when to do so. I originally wanted to be an OB/GYN, but then I discovered that midwives specialize in getting to know their patients and empowering women and families throughout their lives, and knew this was a perfect fit for me!
What is your favorite thing about being a midwife at NFP?
Although I am new to NFP Midwifery, this is totally my dream job. I love the sense of community both with my coworkers and my patients. I love the diverse patient population and learning new things every day about different families and cultures. Getting to know my patients and being able to share their journeys with them is the best!
What is your most memorable birth?
My most memorable (besides my own) was the birth of my niece! I was fresh out of midwifery school, and didn't even have my first job yet. I went up to Nova Scotia, where my sister lives, to be there as emotional support when she birthed her baby. I helped her through most of her labor at her home, then we went to the hospital when she was about 7cm dilated. After being there almost 4 hours, she was progressing quickly and her attending doctor, who was supposed to be coming in to the hospital from home, was nowhere to be found! The nurses said she should be on her way. Before we knew it, my sister was fully dilated, and pushed for a very short time before I could see the baby's head coming, and still no doctor! I told the nurses I am a midwife (totally nervous since I had never done this by myself before), and that the baby was coming so someone needed to be ready. I hopped onto the bed, threw on a pair of gloves, and caught my gorgeous niece as she was born. It was an incredible, beautiful, terrifying, joyful, surprising experience, and I am proud to now be able to say she was officially my first birth as a licensed nurse midwife (even though not licensed in that hospital/country)! I wouldn't wish that level of anxiety on any midwife, but in retrospect I'm so glad it happened the way it did and will certainly never forget that birth!
What is the one thing you want people to know about midwives?
We want what is best for moms and babies, and we know that one of the best ways to do that is to keep women informed, engaged, and empowered as much as possible in each decision along the way. I would most want to dispel the myths that midwives don't work in hospitals, that we only work with patients who want unmedicated births, or that we only see pregnant patients. We love working with women throughout their lifetime, including adolescence, for family planning, in pregnancy, and through menopause.
What is your favorite piece of advice for mommies-to-be?
Can I give 5 pieces of advice? It's okay—and necessary—to ask for help, even if it isn't your first time as a parent. Lean on your village, including partners, family, friends, neighbors, community resources, and healthcare providers! Babies are flexible, resilient, and love you unconditionally. A bad day does not make you a bad parent. Trust your instincts. Take care of yourself. 💜