This post is for the midwives, including me, as a reminder of who we are and where the power lies. Everyone else, make sure your midwife knows that you support her during this time of persecution. Tell her, mean it, show it.
Midwives, as a group you are some of the most resilient people I know. You have faced scrutiny, regulation, annihilation, prejudice, hatred for more than a century. Ever since physicians decided to take over birth in the US, there has been a concerted effort to portray us as the uneducated, the dirty, the foolish, the naive, the selfish. We know the truth is that we pursue knowledge endlessly, that we participate in peer review, that we are honest about not caring for clients who would be safer with another provider, that we are ethical and clean and respectful and smart and seek only to serve our clients. The public is constantly told otherwise with scare tactics and poor research. Yet, still we exist.
Midwives, you are some of the most courageous people on earth. Not only are you willing to assume the responsibility for protecting the health and well being of mothers and babies… You are willing to stand up to endless institutions that seek to eliminate normal birth, that seek to remove a woman’s choice, that seek to control women’s bodies. You are willing to support mothers in their choices and to do so in the safest way possible, you are committed to providing midwifery services even when it puts you and your family in legal or physical danger, you have refused to allow those institutions to strip away a woman’s basic rights to bodily autonomy during birth, even at great risk to yourselves. These things all require such courage.
Midwives, you are so exceptionally opinionated and outspoken when we sit in a room together. You form your ideas with care, consider every road and angle, argue passionately about the best way to move forward. Yet, most of the time you manage to voice those opinions with grace and respect.
For most of us, being a midwife is not simply an occupation. It is a way of being. It is a thing that rests on our hearts and lives in our souls. It screams for our hands to do their work, it makes our minds constantly seek more knowledge on how to better do that work, it makes out heart willing to break when the clients we love walk away in their baby bliss unknowing that we carry them in our hearts forever.
I ask you to let that resilience, that courage, that graceful demand that someone hear and see you replace the fear that right now runs through our community. Stop hiding. Stop playing the AzDHS game on their terms. There is no winning that way. Do your work and do it well and ethically and safely and full of awe and respect for the women you serve. Remember it is your heart and your hands and your years of hard work and study and the very core of your being that makes you a midwife. You being a midwife is NOT defined by the AzDHS or their licenses ‘allowing’ you to practice. Please let go of any fear you have about the power AzDHS is wielding during this time. Just be a midwife.