Traditions Create Lasting Bonds for Future Nurse-Midwives

Connecting with Mothers, Babies

Nurse-Midwifery students at Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies participate in meaningful traditions that allow them to mark their first birth and connect with the mothers and babies they serve.

Cindy Farley, PhD, CNM, FACNM, associate professor of nursing, introduced the idea of having students give a onesie, which reads “A Georgetown Midwife Caught Me,” to the mother of the first baby they deliver.

Current Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (NM/WHNP) student Christine Topinka (G’15) vividly remembers giving away the onesie after a 10-hour labor.

“There is so much stress to be enough and to know enough, but the mothers really empower you,” she said. “You expect to be the coach and to educate and facilitate motherhood, but reflecting back, I feel so blessed that she was able to facilitate my new role as a midwife.”

Connecting at a Distance

Farley, who teaches a course on labor, birth, and newborn care, also started a second tradition, giving students in the NM/WHNP program yarn bracelets. Following the program’s second on-campus intensive, students join together with faculty in a circle where inspirational readings and individual hopes are shared. Then one-by-one, they wrap a spool of yarn around their wrists until every student and every faculty member is connected in an unbroken circle. The students and the faculty then create individual bracelets from the yarn.

“The yarn is what connects them,” Farley said. “They are bound by this cord. The yarn bracelet is evidence of the bond between classmates and faculty.”

Once the students deliver their first babies and give away their onesies, their preceptor cuts the yarn bracelet and marks another step in the students’ journey toward becoming a nurse-midwife.

“We’re nurturing the students and giving them support in an emotional and tangible way,” Farley said. “The bracelets and onesies are traditions that help the online students feel connected after they leave campus, reminding them that they are a part of a larger group committed to generous service to women and their families.”