She’s the person you need to trust in your one of the most vulnerable moments you’ll ever have - so how would you feel if you discovered that your midwife was sleeping with your husband?
That’s exactly what happened to a woman in New Zealand, who began to suspect her primary midwife and her husband were having an affair during the last two months of her pregnancy.
The midwife, who had indeed been sleeping with her patient’s husband for five months, was found guilty of professional misconduct by the NZ Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal on Tuesday, fined $11,400 and had restrictions placed on the number of clients she can take on in the future.
The Kiwi midwife, whose name has been suppressed, had been involved in an earlier pregnancy with the couple, and agreed to help out again when the wife fell pregnant in 2013. She was also in a relationship, and the two couples became friends, with the midwife’s teenage daughter often babysitting while both sets of parents headed out together, the Daily Mail reports.
The affair began after the midwife and her client’s husband went shopping together, without the client’s knowledge. They ended up having a beer and “engaged in kissing and mutual fondling,” according to the Agreed Summary of Facts presented to the tribunal, the NZ Herald reports.
The pair later had unprotected sex at the midwife’s home, exchanged texts of a sexual nature and continued the "intimate" affair for five months.
The client said she "felt as if she was going crazy to be thinking that her midwife… was sleeping with the father of her children." Her husband denied he was being unfaithful when she confronted him, but her gut instinct remained. She recalled being in a high state of anxiety when she went into labour and considered not calling her midwife. "I literally thought I was losing my mind. I was paranoid and in a high state of anxiety."
Following the birth of her third child, the affair was revealed - and she and her newborn were forced to undergo STD testing. Discovering the affair "had a devastating emotional impact on [the client] and on her family."
The midwife attempted to apologise and wrote her a letter expressing her guilt, admitting: 'My actions means that the special memories and intense emotions associated with the births of (the client’s) babies have been forever spoiled.'
She described her actions as a 'very bad lapse in judgement'.
"(The midwife's) conduct was a severe breach of the trust inherent in her professional relationship with her client and a breach of her duty to the client, her baby and her family," the commission's Director of Proceedings said.
Her name was not removed from the register, the Director said, as she had shown remorse and taken steps to rehabilitate herself. She has removed herself from practising for five months, undergone counselling, been transparent about the complaint when seeking a new job, and has undergone a midwifery standards review and mentoring.