Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Unlearning FEAR based midwifery

Many of us midwives were taught some erroneous beliefs about our roles and we were so busy doing what we had been taught we did not take enough time to ask why. I was very fortunate to have had one remarkable preceptor who asked me WHY a million times. She and I were not peas in a pod and she was not always happy with my answer but she was outstanding in that she took that chance .....that we were going to disagree. And she knew that I was not going to practice as taught, but one thing for sure; I would be able to articulate why about everything I did or did not do. Still so much of what I thought we were supposed to do was rooted in fear. However another aspect of fear helped me form my midwifery philosophy.

I think my personality had a lot to do with the kind of midwife I became. A lot of my hands off attitude was not due entirely to my "with woman" philosophy, but with my fear of screwing something up if I didn't know how to do it! Soon I realized that it was better that I not do it anyway! And as time passed, I found that "doing less" was backed up with good science. I have to tell you, too, that my major introspective examination happened when I met a doctor in 1987 who trusted birth a lot more than I did. He became a trusted mentor and dear, dear friend, Dr. John Stevenson. He really gave me the courage to start telling the truth about birthing issues, even when those truths were unpopular.

I am going to see him Australia next week, as we are working on finishing his book. I also hope to spend some time talking with former clients and midwives he helped during his long home birth career.
All of you birth trusters would lOVE him. Dr. John trusted birth way before most of us did! You can download a couple of his talks at the 94 conference at the www.ancientartmidwifery.com click on the aami store His are Adept Baby and 3rd & 4th Stage difficulties.


Aloyshka said...

I'm really confused about my current apprenticeship, and what is my place to give the mom suggestions when the midwife disagrees or contradicts. I know she is more knowledgeable than I am, but I'm an educator and I'm teaching all my students these things. I was at a very confusing birth last night that ended in transfer. I think it was for good reason, but I always think about how things could be different, whenever a birth does not go smoothly. I'm scared that I may wind up getting away from my original intentions of how to practice.

bigfamilyboss said...

I am so glad you are speaking out about Birth Truth! I have had so many ideas and thoughts about birth but never seem to find other people, even midwives who agree. Keep on the front lines you aren't alone. God bless!

Unknown said...

You're not alone :-) Sending love and support across the ocean to you!
Janet Fraser
Joyous Birth, Australian homebirth network.

midwife of the plains said...

Thank you for these words Carla. I like what you have to say about the "fear of screwing something up if I didn't know how to do it." And how that lead to your discovery that often doing nothing works best anyway. Hearing those words from you gives me a sense of relief. :) In your post in June 2008, on Midwifery education, you make it clear that client education is soooooo important. That is one of the many aspects I have loved about AAMI. Midwifery is about the mamas and babies and families. Midwifery is not about catching. Midwifery is about connecting and sharing information with the families I am blessed to connect with.
Is there a way to post a comment on that particular blog? May I post a link to your blog from mine?
Brenda F.