|September 30, 2015 |
Volume 17, Issue 20
|Midwifery Today E-News|
“Midwives—Changing the Birth Paradigm”
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In This Week’s Issue
Special prices on Midwifery Today magazine! This offer expires October 5, 2015 (postmark or fax by the expiration date). More information.
Keep track of the births you attend
The Midwife’s Journal has room for you to record the essentials of up to 100 vaginal births and 20 cesareans. There’s also a section for addresses and telephone numbers and an appendix of forms and charts. Plus, the one-of-a-kind freestyle index lets you compile statistics or quickly find complicated cases or other significant events. Durable enough to be carried in your birth bag and subjected to the rigors of daily use, this unique organizer is ideal for midwives, physicians, doulas, nurses and other childbirth professionals. To order
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Quote of the Week
The greatest joy is to become a mother; the second greatest is to be a midwife.
— Norwegian Proverb
The Art of Midwifery
Women need to know that they have the right to accept or decline procedures and treatments. I want women to know that when they hear instructions, such as “We need to do a vaginal exam,” “We have to break your waters” or “You have to lie on the bed,” they do not have to comply. Women do not have to follow hospital policies and midwives should not coerce women.
Spend a Day with Robin Lim at our Germany conference!
Robin is a mother, grandmother, author, poet, midwife and educator who lives in Bali with her husband and children. She is a founder and executive director for Yayasan Bumi Sehat Birth Center in Bali and splits her time between the birth center and the Tsunami Relief Clinic in Aceh, Sumatra. You can spend a full day with Robin when you register for the class “A Day with Ibu Robin Lim: MotherBaby and BirthKeepers in a Changing World.” She will also be teaching or co-teaching several classes, including Human Rights Issue: Premature Cord Cutting, Solving Common Complications and Pillars of Midwifery: Insight, Information and Intuition.
Plan now to attend our conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, next April!
“Honoring Our Past, Embracing Our Future” is the theme. April 6–10, 2016, are the dates. Planned speakers include Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos (pictured), Michel Odent, Elaine Stillerman and Carol Gautschi.
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Ripple of Hope
In 1966, in his famous “Ripple of Hope” speech at the University of Cape Town, Robert Kennedy said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” He was speaking against apartheid but we can apply this to midwives and birth.
When I started Midwifery Today almost 30 years ago after having a homebirth practice, it was because of the great hope I had that midwives would be able to change the birth paradigm. We midwives have to work at the all-consuming task of doing midwifery while at the same time being the activists to change birth practices. These are rather difficult to do together, but along with doulas, childbirth educators and many other birth practitioners and activists, we go onward. We still have a lot of work to do as we take care of mothers and babies one birth at a time.
There are times when I want to give up having any hope that change will happen, but we cannot give up hope. Hope is one of those driving forces that keep us going, and go we must. Motherbaby is counting on us! Each time we tell someone about the beautiful possibilities in birth, we send out a ripple of hope. So let us try not to get tired. If we do, we must ask our sisters and brothers in this calling to encourage us. Let us each be willing to encourage each other and in so doing give out one more ripple of hope.
Toward better birth!
— Jan Tritten, mother of Midwifery Today
Jan Tritten is the founder, editor-in-chief and mother of Midwifery Today magazine. She became a midwife in 1977 after the amazing homebirth of her second daughter. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies throughout the world. Meet Jan at our conferences around the world, or join her online, as she works to transform birth practices around the world.
A Conference in Fiji
Midwifery Today is going to Suva, Fiji, for a conference 13–17 June 2016. For me, this is a dream come true. I was blessed to meet my Fijian sisters on Facebook. From there they came to some of our conferences, and last year Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos and I went to Fiji and did venue checks with our midwife friends there and found a place in a university for the event. The theme is “Celebrating Love from the Beginning.” The program of classes will be up on our website within a few weeks.
— Jan Tritten
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The Voice of Reason
“Good luck with that cesarean section problem,” said my webmaster as he posted the beautiful home water birth photos of mother Kalista and baby Loki with father Trace and sister Sophie immersed in love, joy and newborn water. “It seems we were talking about that problem 30 years ago.” Yep, he’s right. We were.
By 2013, ACOG had released their new definitions for gestation, making 40 weeks term and paving the way for inductions at 39 weeks. California-licensed midwives received news of tighter restrictions for homebirth. National and world statistics worsened for infant and maternal mortality making it seem reasonable to move toward higher requirements for birth worker education and tighter control for standards in childbirth. ACOG seems to be the voice of reason.
I, however, am the voice of another reason. In all these rulings, standards, guidelines and laws, the voice of the mother is rarely seen as the expert. Her final knowing and final word ought to stand firm above the knowing of others about her; this is a human rights issue. As we midwives started to create a tiny space to serve mothers, serve our callings and serve ourselves without being thrown into prison, we thought the mother’s voice was heard through our midwifery voice; this was our initial mistake. The Cherokee made the same mistake in calling all men brothers as the foreign foot stepped onto this land. Another’s voice can never replace the one to whom actions are being taken or suggested, especially when the action is insisted upon with threats of death. This is why one must go deep and quietly into the presence of birth to see what miracles are possible.
In his latest book, Childbirth and the Future of Homo Sapiens, Michel Odent concludes, “Let us work as if it is not too late.” Some may work for legislation, others for research, some with colleagues and some with mothers, but may all work with heart and soul with little thought of self and much thought of the seventh generation. I have many passions, but intellectualizing and standardizing birth is not one of them. So I am the voice of undisturbed birth and I am saying, “Stop frightening birthing mothers.” May we learn how to speak our truths without frightening others and without frightening ourselves.
Meanwhile, I wonder, why can’t we see that the way we are handling birth and the very real correlating outcomes are making things increasingly worse? Who cares how much more qualified, educated, scientific, evidence-based, equal or superior we have all become if we as a collective motherhood and as a collective midwifehood are more afraid of birth and, therefore, act accordingly. I’m not sure anyone with any education or training is best suited to be with a birthing mother. If a mother can somehow escape the claws of a professional, she ranks in the numbers of those women who are birthing the last free human beings on our planet—the last human life free from needles, machines, drugs, plastic, spotlights and the coercion of fear.
Read this editorial by Jan Tritten from the newest issue of Midwifery Today, Autumn 2015:
Q: How and why did you choose your midwife?
— Midwifery Today
A: She was older, calm, a woman of few words and she gave me confidence. She said yes. She did not fuss. She was not anxious. She did not overcharge me. I think of her everyday as I was the last person she took on before her retirement.
— Marianne Littlejohn
A: My first midwife was an amazing doctor doing homebirths. He actually talked me into a homebirth. I really needed someone who would help me have a good birth. (My first birth was awful.) He was a great choice!
— Jan Tritten
A: I was my own midwife.
— Marlene Waechter
A: She was my mother.
— Ruth Ehrhardt
A: I chose my first midwife because she was one of only two in town. I called the other one first and got her voicemail, but her voice was really harsh and militant. I couldn’t imagine hearing that voice while I was in labor. The second one turned out to be someone with whom I developed a close personal connection. It also helped that her house was only two blocks away from mine. And she was amazing! I chose my second midwife because she was willing to work with me on payment options. I ended up making her some beautiful leather work, and my husband did some yard work for her. Both were excellent experiences. The third midwife I worked with supported my goal of an unassisted birth. She did all of my prenatal care and was on call to come to my house if I needed her during delivery.
— Bren Chance
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