Juliette Mudra, BMw’20, took the journey from the farm she grew up in the Nova Scotia to UBC’s Midwifery Program because of her dream: bringing midwifery to her rural community back home.
What drew you to pursuing a Bachelor of Midwifery degree at UBC?
I grew up in the Atlantic provinces and I’ve always lived by the sea. There is no midwifery education program in the Maritime provinces, so when I decided to pursue midwifery, I knew I would have to move to another part of the country. I’ve always loved the West Coast for its wild mountains and salmon filled rivers. UBC is surrounded by the ocean and mountains, so it was the obvious choice when looking for a balance between a quality midwifery education and opportunities for activities like backcountry camping and hiking.
What is one thing that you are taking with you from your experience in the BMw program?
Resiliency and the ability to find solutions in difficult situations. This was a challenging program, but through new friendships, mentorship, hard work, and sheer grit I was able to succeed. I think the relationships I found through this program, be they professional or friendly, are ones that I will have for a lifetime.
As both a midwife and a farmer, do you feel that there is a connection between these two roles? Did being in one role affect your decision in pursuing the other?
There is definitely a connection. Birth has always been a regular occurrence in my life. From a very early age, perhaps 8 or 9, it was my job to get up in the middle of the night to check on the cows that were near their due dates. I often arrived at school the next morning, sleep deprived and joyful, after successfully helping an animal give birth and their offspring achieve their first, wobbly-legged, latch. When I discovered in my late 20s that I could guide humans through pregnancy, birth and postpartum as a midwife, I was thrilled – it became a very obvious career path for me.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you and your plans for the future?
So far, I am surprisingly unscathed. My senior year clinical practicum was cut short by several weeks, but thankfully, I had already achieved the requirements I needed to complete the midwifery program. If anything, the pandemic has affirmed my decision to return home to the farm I grew up on – when anxiety levels have climbed (with regard to what was happening in the world), I would retreat into the gardens. My vegetable garden is definitely pandemic sized this year!
As you look ahead, what (or who) inspires you?
I was incredibly fortunate to have several instructors and midwifery preceptors through the program at UBC who encapsulated many of the qualities I hope to nurture in myself as I move forward into this career I have chosen. I feel like each mentor I came in contact with had some valuable piece of information or advice to hand me, and I am so thankful for the experiences I had.
What was one piece of advice that a mentor gave you?
Bring midwifery into a rural community. It will be a difficult journey, but one of the most rewarding things you will accomplish in your lifetime. Hearing this affirmation of a dream I have for myself has given me the courage to return to my home, a community that lacks accessible reproductive care. I hope to change this lived reality for my own and surrounding rural communities.
Name one thing on your bucket list.
With such an uncertain future ahead, my bucket list has become more practical than fun. Help midwifery to become sustainable in Nova Scotia. Build a tiny home by the sea. Perhaps the most fun one: Host an annual pig roast and square dance on my farm for my community as a thanks for always supporting my family and me.