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.
Editorial: Don't Sell Your Sisters Down the River - by Jan Tritten
Editorial: Let's Work Together - by Jan Tritten