Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Most Dangerous Thing to Happen to Midwifery


That is what some are saying about me.
That and several variations on that theme.
Over the 30 plus years of my work I have been called many things I have never addressed, but I want to speak to this one.

Midwifery is in terrible danger, but I have no part in it. 

I am referring to the extremely well organized effort to redefine midwifery. This effort denigrates the women who have handed that job down from generation to generation. It poses an ominous threat not only to authentic, with-woman midwifery but to the rights and freedoms of the women midwives serve.

Picture it as a double edged sword: those speaking for midwifery are speaking only for one brand and working to own the title lock, stock and barrel. They are speaking AGAINST those who choose not to buy their brand or promote their brand. They are not speaking for the midwife of history or the authentic midwife of today. Sadly, if they get their way there will be few midwives in the future. Their effort to eliminate "lay" midwifery and round up all midwives into one corral for easy pickin' will have disastrous effects on EVERY brand of midwifery.

The other edge of that sword is even more dangerous.  How can we forget that we don't own birth but mammas do?  How can we ignore the fact that parents' rights trump midwives' status?  If parents lose their rights, midwives' rights are moot anyway.

It is impossible to be subject to the state, an insurance company, or a midwifery organization, and serve the mother in the same way we could if there were no other entities involved.  If we enter into a contract about the mother, with anyone other than the mother, mothers are at risk of losing their voice.  If we enter into a contract without honoring the contract, then what does that say about our collective integrity?

I admit, I  am pretty vocal in speaking against what I consider to be the greatest threat to parents' rights in all of history. I know that my position is not popular.
BUT, if women lose that most feminine of all freedoms, to use her own body for birth, and her own head and heart to determine where and with whom she births, then which freedom will go next?  
If the state or a midwifery organization places itself in position to make ANY of those choices for any woman, and we go along with that, we will be equally guilty of diminishing her choices and compromising her freedom.

I will NOT be guilty. 

If that makes me dangerous, well I will strive to live up to the title.

1 comment:

Matt & Sarah said...

Carla,
Even though I am not on the "up and up" of what is happening in the MW circle, I am a mom who is being affected by my state's restrictions on licensed MW's. My only options are to hire an out-of-state MW, or do an unassisted birth. I have become very aware of how much the government is mingling with our lives, and I'm not a conspirator or anything, but I believe that licensing will lead down a slippery slope. I appreciate your efforts, and willingness to stand up for those of who don't have as big of a voice.

Many thanks,
Sarah