THE YOUTH WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MIDWIFE IN THE WORDS OF TEHMINA ISLAM By Ariana King, Culture Editorial Assistant Illustrated by Katie Herrick, Culture Editor
As soon as we learn to walk, it seems we’re asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While many of us have no idea how to answer this great, big question, this uncertainly wasn’t true for Tehmina Islam, the owner of the Access Midwifery and a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). As a young human rights activist, Islam was inspired by her work with Amnesty International and the Free Tibet Movement to go into a health-centered profession. Originally, Islam thought she would become a physician, and even shadowed one in high school. It was there that she learned that doctors spend a lot less time with patients than one may believe. After watching the physician spend most of their time doing behindthe-scenes work, she began to reconsider her career. What really propelled Islam to homebirth midwifery was accompanying her best friend to her hospital birth at the age of 16. As Islam recalls, “She did an amazing job of giving birth to her baby, but she wasn’t treated very well.”1 1 Tehmina Islam, telephone conversation with author, March 26, 2020.