Support All Types of Midwives

My role in midwifery, besides being a midwife and journalist, is to support and encourage all midwives. I do support “The Big Push for Midwives.” I really want to see CPMs (Certified Professional Midwife) be part of the healthcare system, and I support CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwife) as well. We are all called to reach mothers and babies in different circles and from differing beliefs and backgrounds. As a midwife in the 1970s, I knew that many of our mothers who chose homebirth would have had their babies at home whether we were there or not. We became midwives with this particular push. These women needed midwives and they called us out serve. We were, and many of us are, proud lay or empirical midwives.


I encourage each of you, no matter what your license or certification, to respect each other. There are many midwives with the experience of thousands of births who have decided not to become certified. There are many entry level CPMs. There are CNMs who do homebirth, and there are high-risk-serving CNMs. I have been promoting unity within this profession for over three decades. We are so very far from that, but at the very least I say we can respect each other. We all respect the women we serve. I find that midwives in the US respect women so, so much. If we extend that respect to each other—most us are women—we will make it. That is, midwifery will become the norm. Division will only tear us apart. It is tearing us apart.


My one concern is shared by a Facebook friend:


“Personally, I am concerned that the push for midwives right now will end up excluding the very women that need and desire midwifery care. I hope that those who are helping to get CPMs as the standard for maternity care are also pushing for women to be able to have choices ... even VBACs, twins, breeches, etc. I would hate to see midwives sacrifice those women in favor of being able to serve 'more women' in the long run. As a student midwife, a consumer of midwifery care, and a VBAC mother I am afraid for what is happening to our choices as birthing women.”


I am concerned that if CPMs give up too much in order to get recognition, that they will end up serving the profession rather than women and babies. At Midwifery Today, we are working with midwives who are good at Twin, Breech and VBAC births, and we are doing conference classes on reclaiming those areas. Midwives are generally the only practitioners who will handle these as variations of normal. Midwives are the practitioners who recognize and approach birth as normal to begin with (this, of course, includes doulas, childbirth educators, and activists).  The world is in a sorry state in the way birth is viewed. That is why we must all work together to make change—each in our own sphere of influence, and respecting others. If we don’t, we will be seeing more women choosing to birth by themselves because midwives aren’t there to help them. AND—as I have been predicting for decades—if we get too absorbed into the medical system, a new grassroots, lay midwife movement will start and I’ll respect, encourage and support that too.


Jan Tritten

Midwifery Today

Editorial: Don't Sell Your Sisters Down the River - by Jan Tritten

Editorial: Let's Work Together - by Jan Tritten


# Adirondack Hands said:

What's your take on this?:

My heart hurts. Aren't we all sisters? Aren't all midwives, midwives? At 50 years old I am only just returning to my calling as a doula and a midwifery student. I started out over 26 years ago apprenticing with a lay midwife, and decided to take the time to be present with my family and marriage based on my experience as an apprentice at that time, till the timing was right for me to return. The calling never abandoned me.

I already live in a state where they are upping the education requirement to a master's degree, and at 50 years old and only a high school grad with a bit of college under my belt, I figured to not be legal anyhow in my state. I am currently in a distance academic Traditional Midwifery program that I had eyed for years before finally having the time and money to enroll.

The midwifery program in which I am enrolled certified me as a labor and postpartum doula a year ago. I've been supporting women and families during the perinatal experience for 5 years now, having received excellent training through CAPPA and DONA, with the best and most valuable of all training and "certification" coming from the women and families themselves, whom I have served.

I had though I might at least go for CPM regardless of legality just to provide myself with a credential that meant something to ME. I know another woman who feels the same way. I still intend on remaining open to doing so because again... doing so would actually be meaningful to me. It would be an achievement, the preparation for which would mean I "learn it all" and met the challenge of a rigorous exam. Yet in practice I  would likely prefer not to use much of it, because I really do trust the inherent perfection of childbearing as a process and the incredible miracles of anatomy and of physiology that lay the foundation for safe birth of both healthy mothers and babies.

I also am a supporting member of MANA, which I know has always sought to bridge any chasm between ACNM and other midwives. At one point, I felt that this relationship appeared at times as a sort of groveling and was not at all sure if I wanted to support it, but as far as I know, MANA has acted in good faith in relation to ACNM and there seemed to be a growing mutual respect and trust there.

My question today is whether there is any relation between this statement from ACNM and the AMA's sudden signing on to the current bill for health care reform (which happened in the last 24 hours) in the House of Reps and whether there is a deal made within that negotiation that is a sort of quid pro quo to eliminate once and for all, any possible competition for the consumers' childbearing dollars?

Meanwhile... my heart is kind of on the ground. There is a price that is paid when seeking "legitimacy" from those who want control. Frankly... I'll never be legal in my state once I actually do come to the moment of readiness to practice. I guess I've always known that. I respect those who choose to go on and achieve that level of credentialing that means something to them- and clearly, being legal is meaningful to them also. I do respect that. However, in my heart ALL midwives are midwives; not just the ones with CNM or CM after their names... in fact... ALL WOMEN who sit with their sisters and witness and support and choose to learn and grow in knowledge about birth are all being called the same way, to the same work.

Midwifery is more than a shrewd career choice- MUCH more than meeting a minimal standard.

To me... any and every woman is a potential midwife.

Friday, July 17, 2009 5:58 AM
# Jan Tritten's Blog said:

I was horrified when I read the American College of Nurse-Midwives’ (ACNM) declaration of opposition

Wednesday, August 05, 2009 10:48 AM
# support all types of birth « guerrilla mama medicine said:

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009 2:55 PM