Rachael Scott came from a family where women did not go out to work but confined themselves to ‘home duties’. Her mother felt that she had missed out and so encouraged Rachael to get a job and like so many other women, she became a nurse and loved it.
Rachael married Marcus Curnow and in due course he was ordained. He is now on the team at Essendon Baptist with responsibilities for the work at Newmarket. They have three children who are all teenagers.
Rachael trained in the various fields of nursing and along the way fell in love with midwifery with all the intense emotional experiences that accompany pregnancies, childbirth and neo natal care. She helps bring the children into the world and Marcus waits patiently to dedicate them and maybe even to baptise them.
Unlike Annie Watson, Rachael works with the team of four midwives attached to the Mercy Hospital. They have women referred to them at various stages of the pregnancy and then share with them the journey of the pregnancy and birth. After the birth they keep in touch with them for the first couple of weeks while the sleeping patterns and feeding habits of the child are being established.
This means that Rachael meets all sorts of women and shares a very significant part of their lives with them, especially if there are complications with the birth or even catastrophes such as stillbirths. She is well known and greatly respected in the district and has attended the births of hundreds of children who now help fill the local schools.
Rachael enjoys working with her team as the workload is shared and team members can have a day off knowing it is not going to be interrupted by an imminent birth. It is also reassuring to know that the women will still receive good care while they are absent.
With the births taking place in a hospital she has all the support such an institution can provide, such as specialist medical staff: gynaecologists, anaesthetists, surgeons and nursing staff, along with the support staff such as administrators, cooks, bottle washers, orderlies and cleaners.
This is so different to the conditions in which Annie Watson worked. She had to deal on her own with natural home deliveries before either anaesthetics or antiseptics had been developed and the prospect of a Caesarean was unthinkable.
The role of a modern midwife may be very different to that of a midwife in the 19th century but both Rachael and Annie show the same love for their fellows and the same dedication to service. Both have had or continue to have the same very positive influence in their local communities.
By the nature of her work Rachel has contact with dozens of people whose only experience of church is to attend a wedding or a funeral, so that her ministry is very different to that of her husband.