On Friday June 8 we welcome midwives past and present and anyone whose life has ever been touched by a midwife to a special service of Choral Evensong celebrating 100 years of the Midwives Act 1918-2018 in Ireland.
The service, organised by the Royal College of Midwives, is one of a number of events celebrating this milestone in the history of midwifery and giving thanks for midwives everywhere.
Civic receptions have already been held in the different Health Trusts, and in November there will be a ball, and the launch of a book 100 voices for 100 stories.
The service in Belfast Cathedral on June 8 is one of two ecumenical services being held to mark the Midwives 100 year – St Eugene’s, L/Derry will hold a service on June 21.
As well as midwives past and present, it is hoped many people who have used the service (which means most of the population!) will come along.
The address will be given by the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev Stephen Forde, and Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, will read a Lesson.
There will be suitable music from the Choir of Belfast Cathedral. During the service a candle will be lit in memory of all Irish midwives who have died. Intercessions will be led by serving and former midwives with the first prayers said by a gentleman in his 70s whose late mother was a midwife.
Belfast Cathedral parishioner Hazel McCalister is on the organising committee of Midwives 100. A midwife of 40 years, Hazel remembers her first delivery very well. “It was April 1976. Afterwards I received a letter from the new mum, and in it she said I had been very confident,” Hazel laughed. “There is such a joy in being a midwife, it is so amazing. I still feel that after all these years, waiting for that first little cry.”
Those attending the service will be able to view an exhibition of memorabilia for midwifery in Ireland over the years. Hospital trained midwives are encouraged to wear their badges.
Hazel added that midwife means ‘with women.’ “I love the privilege of being present for new life. It is such a privileged job,” she said.
The service is on Friday June 8 at 5.30pm.