STU Grad Works as Midwife
Brittany Stairs, BA'13, is guiding women through their healthcare as they transition from pregnancy to motherhood. The STU alumna is a midwife in British Columbia, and she is excited to be part of this re-surging profession.
Midwives provide care during pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. Although midwifery services vary depending on the province, in many provinces including BC, a woman with a low-risk pregnancy can choose to have a midwife care for her instead of a doctor.
“Essentially, we do all the things that we would expect a family physician to do when it comes to pregnancy, birth and postpartum care. We order the bloodwork, ultrasounds, and other tests. We deliver babies. We also consult with obstetricians, pediatricians or other healthcare providers as needed just like a family doctor would.”
Stairs enjoys midwifery because it values a person’s autonomy in their healthcare decisions.
“I really enjoy the process of working with someone, going through their healthcare, and guiding them to be the leader in their own care. "And of course, I will make recommendations when appropriate.I really like the idea of meeting someone where they’re at in their healthcare and working with them through that and being in a role that is really supportive and empowering.”
Midwifery blends together many of Stairs’ passions into one: healthcare and working with women. It seemed like a perfect fit.
“The first volunteer position I ever had was working with women and children in a transition house. I also volunteered and worked at the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre,” she said. “I really enjoy helping people in transitional periods in their lives. And I had interest in healthcare and working with women. When I found out about midwifery, I realized it would be a great fit for me.”
After graduating from St. Thomas with an Honours in Psychology in 2013, Stairs enrolled in the midwifery program at the University of British Columbia. She said her background in psychology helped her become a well-rounded midwife.
“I am really thankful for my education at St. Thomas. There are a few professors at St. Thomas who are interested in critical psychology and who introduced that idea in their teaching and really encouraged us to look into it as well,” she said.
“For me, critical psychology is about taking a step back from psychology and really seeing the whole person. It means looking at a multitude of factors, so things like socio-economic status, race, gender, the political climate at the time, abilities, and so on. And then for me, midwifery is about meeting someone where they’re at in their life to provide healthcare and then individualizing their healthcare to their specific life circumstances and preferences. My education in psychology at St. Thomas really benefits me as a midwife because it helps me see the whole person.”