Giving birth is a huge moment in a woman’s life and Epworth midwives consider it an honour to play a part in it. To celebrate International Midwives Day 2020, we feature two of our wonderful midwives who provide exceptional care for our mums-to-be.

Epworth Geelong midwife Mark Benson has clocked up 20 years helping women give birth.

Mark was working as a nurse when his first of four children was born.

“I was intrigued and loved watching the midwife and what they were doing,” Mark said.

“Seeing my first baby born was the trigger for it all.”

Although working as a midwife when his last two children were born, Mark’s focus was as a dad, supporting his wife through the birth.

Being a male midwife is less rare these days than when Mark began his midwife training and he says most women in labour want two things.

“Over 20 years of having worked with lots and lots and lots of women I’ve found ultimately, they want their midwife to be skilled and kind.

“Once you establish that relationship of trust, most women only care that the person looking after them knows what they are doing and is compassionate.”

Before she became a midwife, nurse Kylie Cowley was working in acute care, including Emergency, cardiothoracics and haematology/oncology at The Alfred.

“I love doing Emergency nursing – it’s like my happy place – but I had wanted to be midwife for a really long time and assisting my daughter with her baby, who died in utero at 18 weeks, pushed me towards doing it,” Kylie explained.

“To be able to help someone at their most vulnerable time is very special.”

“It’s such a precious time in a woman’s life and it’s a real honour to be there, whether it’s assisting with the delivery of the baby and caring for them through their labour or the first few days with bonding and learning to feed, making sure bub’s OK.”

While she was studying midwifery, Kylie assisted in the delivery of her grandson Charlie.

“It wasn’t hands-on for me as I was studying at the time, but my daughter wouldn’t listen to the midwife so I coached her through the labour and delivery. Charlie is perfect – my husband and I are his full-time carers. He’s 19 months now and a little monster,” Kylie laughed.

“The special care nursery is a pretty emotional place to work; you’ve just got to remember most babies in special care do go home.”

While wanting to “keep her toes in midwifery”, Kylie is branching out to working in the community, particularly wanting to be a resource for Aboriginal woman.

In February, Kylie, who is from the Darug nation, began studying to be a Maternal Child Health (MCH) nurse.

With only one other Aboriginal MCH nurse in Melbourne, Kylie is looking forward to joining forces with her to offer a maternal and child health nursing service for Aboriginal women in the city’s south-east.

Paula Stephenson, Executive Director Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer, says our midwives are an important part of the maternity experience at Epworth.

“Our midwives are all outstanding, not just well educated but all passionate about their work and the women they care for. Each of them will tell you what a privilege it is to have this role and they are all so invested in making sure the women having babies are well supported.

“I’m so proud of all our midwives and the role they play in helping all our women bring a newborn into the world.”

Midwife Kylie Cowley
Epworth Geelong midwife Mark Benson
Midwife Kylie Cowley
Epworth Geelong midwife Mark Benson