Saturday, April 21, 2012

Who do midwives protect?? (“From Calling to Courtroom”)

Ever been told how honorable, how noble a midwife’s role is during childbirth…to “be beside” a woman as she intuitively hears her instincts and births her child?  I always assumed that a midwife’s first and foremost concern was the safety of the mothers and babies they serve.  As more and more families come forward to share their alarming experiences with out of hospital birth, we are learning this isn’t always true…in fact it is often not true. 

Low and behold, midwives have even written a book about how to protect each other and themselves.  The title, “From Calling to Courtroom: A Survival Guide for Midwives”

“Knowledge is power and protection. This book strives to make a positive contribution to every midwifery practice and is dedicated with the intention that no midwife should ever again be unjustly prosecuted or persecuted.”

Knowledge is power and protection which is why EVERYONE should read this book to fully understand the warped efforts to “protect” themselves above all else.  No one should ever be unjustly prosecuted, midwives included…BUT those who are guilty of gross negligence, negligence, and wrong doing should absolutely be held accountable as is the rest of society.  Midwives should not be excluded on some pedestal of birth worship. 

“Too many midwives have been forced to expend too much of their energy, finances and sanity trying to defend the practice of midwifery. Too many midwives are serving jail time for providing appropriate midwifery care.” 

Nothing like playing the martyr and the victim with such dramatic conviction.  Really…defending the practice of midwifery OR more accurately defending their negligent, reckless, irresponsible, and unethical actions?  I’d further say that not enough midwives are serving jail time for inappropriate care.  Are midwives really so self-righteous that they can’t see that some members of their “profession” don’t act ethically?  Isn’t that true of every profession?  How sanctimonious to protect your own so loyally without really aiming to improve the practice, this is why the “profession” is in danger. 

Chapter 6 also mentions a progression of interest in protecting first mothers and babies, then “themselves, and their profession”.  The focus of the book is about the latter.    
The reality of the care that’s being distributed across this country speaks more accurately to serving themselves & their profession first and foremost...and forget about the moms and babies, "some of them just aren’t meant to live”.  If you question this reality, please visit the "Hurt by Homebirth" blog

Of particular interest on this blog would be Chapter 6 which specifically addresses the history and current state of lay midwifery in MI.  It details motivation and strategy for midwives to obtain licensing and seek “regulation” so they can both seek insurance reimbursement and make it so they are less likely to be prosecuted or sued.  It has nothing to do with improving practice, practicing in a safer way, or being more accountable.  In fact, in MI they want to follow their own rules set by their own board with a panel for review of only themselves.  Check out NARM's (North American Registry for Midwives) new statement about licensing.  Nothing like advocating for licensing and regulation but writing it so that no one can make any rules or have any oversight except for themselves.  Purposefully confusing politics, read it carefully.  Is this any different that what’s already happening???  Unaccountable and protecting themselves instead of the families they are supposed to be serving…No wonder ACNM (American College of Nurse Midwives) doesn’t support them. 

Let me remind everyone that CPMs, those fighting so hard to keep their unbelievably lax “rights” to practice in MI are the same thing as lay midwives who renamed themselves DEMs (Direct entry midwives), then changed that label to CMs (Certified midwives), then again to sound more official to CPMs (Certified Professional Midwives).  The history is all in Ch 6.  The book expresses how “fortunate” Michigan midwives are b/c they can function under the blanket of “alegal status” in our state, not regulated, but not illegal.  How lucky.  We are on an “island in the Midwest”, one that is costing babies and mothers their lives. 

These are NOT CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives).  I contend that if CPMs would like a license and the right to deliver babies, perhaps they should consider a college education and practice as a professional like the rest of us.  Why should they be granted a license to protect themselves without earning one, and without being accountable?  The only legal “midwife” should be a Nurse Midwife and yes, they should be required to carry insurance as a measure of responsibility for practicing within parameters of safety guidelines, professional development, and as a responsible professional. 


  1. I don't have anything enlightening to say or offer, but I just wanted you to know there are many of us out here reading and following what is happening. Even when we don't have thoughts to post or words to add, we are listening and we are here.

  2. wow. great post sara! i wholeheartedly agree that midwives need give enough of a f*ck about their profession (and the moms and babies they serve) that they get a degree and follow appropriate rules and guidelines.