Friday, June 03, 2011

career in midwifery?

wet and happy after a job well done!
[Thanks Miranda for the pic.]
Click here for Miranda's comments Why I Chose Homebirth
A young woman is considering a career in midwifery.

She is drawn by the ideas midwives write about:
  • forming a partnership based on reciprocity and trust with each woman; 
  • learning how to work in harmony with the woman's own natural processes; 
  • promoting health in a holistic way; protecting the woman's birthing potential; 
  • and providing a smooth interface between primary maternity care and medical intervention when there is a valid reason to interrupt the natural process.

The young woman has some doubts, recognising a potential clash between her own views on western medicine and the mainstream health system. She likes the idea of working as a private midwife attending well women in their own homes, but she realises that there is a journey that has to be taken in achieving a midwifery qualification, with study and experience that includes the medical/hospital system. She writes:

I'm worried that the "system" wont change, if not become even worse. Do you think it's going to become easier or even harder to practice midwifery in the way that you promote? IE- do you think i'll always be paddling up stream or, is there light at the end of the tunnel?

I have brought this discussion through to the blog, because these are questions that many are asking.

A slogan from the International Confederation of Midwives is
"The world needs midwives now more than ever"

even though ...
  • The system may become worse.
  • It may become even harder to practise midwifery in a woman-centred way.
  • We may feel as though we are always paddling up stream.
  • We may not be conscious of light at the end of the tunnel.

It is idealistic and unhelpful for midwives to focus only on the strong, healthy women and babies: women who are able to give birth spontaneously and joyfully in their homes.

Midwives, and authentic midwifery practice are needed in mainstream health care, which in this country means hospitals. True midwifery is needed for the women and babies who can't afford a private service, for women and babies in developing countries where the rates of maternal and perinatal deaths are many times that in Australia. True midwifery is needed for women who know they will need caesarean surgery in order to have the best chance of being 'delivered' safely.

The current batch of challenges in Australian midwifery are the result of a socialist government's attempt to improve maternity care. Socialist policy does not value the individual's concerns or iterests in the way that many people in the free world understand to be important. Centralised government regulation of midwives and other health professionals is likely to lead to bureaucratic red tape that restricts some midwives and women in the way the want to give birth. It is likely that we midwives will feel that we are always paddling upstream.

Governments will change. Regulations and laws will change. Women continue to need midwives who are 'with woman', regardless of the laws, regulations, or philosophies of the government.

"The world needs midwives now more than ever"

Today I received by email the picture of Miranda, with her newborn baby, and permission to use it in blogs. What a beautiful reminder that, for each midwifery partnership, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is new life at the end of the hard work. There is beauty, and hope. Thankyou, Miranda.

If you are interested in the state of affairs for private midwifery in Australia, and links to search for a midwife online, please go to the APMA blog.

1 comment:

Less is More MIdwife said...

A wonderful post Joy, thank you so much. I'm nearing the end of my first year of training in the UK and it really does feel like an uphill struggle at times, so reassurance like this is very powerful. Many Thanks! x