Seeing one of my midwives today stirred something deep inside of me. I'm bonded
to both of these women in a place in my heart that few people even visit. Ours
is a special relationship, one that didn't end with the birth of my son, or even
with the conclusion of their postpartum care. I am aware that I am one of hundreds
of women whom they will work with, and develop similarly meaningful and deep relationships
with, throughout their careers. I am also aware of the rare quality of these women.
I know that my son and I are special to them. My relationship with them has obviously
changed, as it should, but the intimate connection we shared, based on their loving
care and commitment, can never be altered. I really just want to say thank you.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You helped me to be the person I wanted
to be, with dignity.
- Heidi Tyedmers
Because every woman is a unique individual, our understanding of the psychology
of birth will never really be complete. Some of our most valuable lessons will
come in working through our own issues. The more we as midwives can weed out doubts
and questions about our own worth and abilities as women, the more effective our
efforts to support other women will be. By our very presence at births we will
feel strengthened and empowered to do whatever they need to in order to give birth.
Beyond this, our continuing efforts to understand how life patterns manifest in
birth will enable us to better guide the process for each and every mother.
- Anne Frye
Midwives speak a special language. We speak words of instruction, counsel, and
encouragement. We speak with our hands as we touch the swollen abdomen with confidence
and gentleness, and as we give that reassuring hug that says more effectively
than words, "All is well." And we speak with our eyes, when above all
else, above race, religion, or economic status we see only a woman who is having
a baby.... As we are there for them within and in spite of their circumstances,
we are speaking to them in the language that all women understand: the language
- Valerie El Halta
Every midwife has, at one time or another, stared sadly at the bags under her
eyes...at laundry piled high on the floor, at a husband sulking...and kids glaring
accusingly as she flies out the door...again!
Every midwife has felt the fear and frustration of a labor gone wrong, felt the
sting of contempt....
Every midwife has locked a door behind her, and in the pain of a broken spirit
shaken her fists to the empty sky and cried, "Why? Why am I doing this? I
can't stay awake another night! I can't face another transport! I can't bear the
guilt of my household's collapse! I can't go on...."
Every midwife has looked at strength, courage, and beauty in the face of a laboring
woman and witnessed the power of love between two people, silent, single-minded,
Every midwife has heard words like, "You have made it so special," "We
will never forget you," "I couldn't have done it without you."
She has felt amazed at her personal growth and how she has stretched far beyond
what she felt capable of....
Every midwife sees pride in the eyes that once were accusing, feels cherished
by the one who once was sulking, knows "why" she has chosen to bear
the name midwife.
- Linda Elsbernd
Teaching and practicing what she teaches, [the traditional midwife] offers the
same information to the birthing woman she attends that she offers to her own
apprentice. Her entire practice operates by providing information to women about
how to maintain their soundest health and wholeness and strength, by creating
an environment that is life-supporting. Her allies include simple forms of nourishment
in keeping with the simplicity that nature anticipates as an environment for birthing:
whole life-giving foods; herbs; deep, slow abdominal breathing; touch, massage,
and interaction with water; walking outside. These forms of nourishment provide
a woman with ways to learn to care for herself and accept nourishment from others,
and offer sustenance to herself and her unborn baby.
- Sher Willis
As midwives it is important to remember at every point of our practice that
we are blessed with the opportunity to help others realize the most treasured
memory of their lives.
- Jan Tritten
LIFE OF A MIDWIFE:
All the preceding excerpts were taken from this wonderful Midwifery Today book.
Nearly 100 pages of insight, support, wisdom, and resources.
read midwife Judy Edmunds' stunning article about the meaning of midwifery care.
THE WORLD HAS BECOME A GLOBAL VILLAGE. With this freedom to share information
comes the ability to travel and relocate. When midwives move from one country
to another, they should, with equivalent education and credentials, be able to
practice their profession wherever they live. Click here to read more.
CODE OF ETHICS FOR MIDWIVES
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A Web Site Update for E-News Readers
CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL MIDWIVES DAY on May 5: Treat yourself to a subscription to Midwifery Today magazine, beautiful midwifery jewelry, "Life of a Midwife" (a Midwifery Today book), or any of numerous products and services available on the Midwifery Today web site. Go to www.midwiferytoday.com and click on the shopping cart icon to use our secure online shopping area.
INTERNATIONAL MIDWIFE is a section in every issue of Midwifery Today. Read birth stories, read about midwifery in other countries, get to know birth practices from around the world.
THE PREMIER ISSUE OF "HAVING A BABY TODAY" NEWSLETTER, a Midwifery Today publication, is now online, in PDF format.
with Traditional Mexican Midwife Doña Irene Sotelo: Monday August 27-Friday, August 31, 2001.
Midwifery Today's Online Forum
Does anyone have experience with raspberry leaf?
To share your thoughts and experience, go to Midwifery Today's Forums. Click on "Birth" and "Group B Strep."
PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR RESPONSES TO E-NEWS!
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Question of the Week
I am a doula and have a client who had two previous c-sections with large babies
and really wants to try for a vaginal birth. What information and support can
you offer? She plans to have a hospital birth.
Send your responses to:
Question of the Week Responses
Q: How do you feel about attending a birth for a patient
who is overweight? Does it affect decisions made during the labor, attention needed,
or anything else?
A: Just as the body knows exactly what to do to develop a new human being
inside the uterus, the birth is also taken care of. As birth assistants we really
just need to be there for the woman, supportive and encouraging, to make it easy
for the woman to move with her labor.
I have supported women of different shapes and forms and there is no difference
in my task at all. I might get more of a workout helping her in and out of the
bath, but the core of labor and birth is for the woman to surrender. Weight is
not a factor.
A: I ask midwives to think about the actual clients you have served (not
the statistics you have read in books). What real complications have you seen
in larger numbers in women who weigh more? I don't think I have seen more complications
among bigger women than smaller women. In fact, while I don't have any special
concerns working with fatter women, I do have some concerns working with thinner
women who may need more help to eat enough, and more help with recovery after
Recent studies show that weight alone is probably not a good predictor of overall
health or life span. It is activity level and quality of diet that play much stronger
roles. So I discuss good nutrition and exercise with ALL my clients and take care
to emphasize the importance of eating freely and eating often.
I realize that I work with a relatively small number of women, so I wondered
if studies that point to poor health in fatter women might not play out in my
practice but might be true in the larger world. If there are more health problems
caused by fat, I can see two obvious causes that are rarely discussed. First of
all, fat people--especially fat women--are regularly discriminated against in
our culture. Many health problems of fat women could be due to an important and
medically acknowledged cause of poor health: stress.
Like other members of oppressed groups, many fat patients avoid seeking healthcare
because they either assume they will get another lecture on weight loss or that
accommodations will not meet their needs.
Finally, I think it is important to mention some points on providing good healthcare
to fat women. Always have a large blood pressure cuff among your supplies. Using
a cuff that is too small is uncomfortable for the client and gives falsely high
BP readings (probably partially to blame for the perception that fatness and high
blood pressure are linked). Also, please think about this point: For most people
Diets Do Not Work. Most fat women have tried to lose weight at some point in their
lives. Most of those women have gained weight back. Numerous studies have shown
that yo-yo dieting is extremely unhealthy. Let's stop emphasizing weight loss
for health and instead emphasize good health for all.
For more information about these issues check out these fat-positive web sites:
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HANDS ON EXPERIENCE AVAILABLE!
Austin Area Birthing Center has openings for experienced , dedicated student
midwives starting in June. A room is available in the center. Send your resume
to (512) 345-6637 or email to email@example.com
Check out our web site at : www.austinabc.com
IN CELEBRATION OF DOULAS
My homebirth VBAC inspired me to pursue midwifery. After a couple
of years following that dream, I decided to stick with my earlier career path
in environmental advocacy. In the meantime, however, I'd become a doula. So far,
I've only attended women in the hospital, which has seemed a bit strange, given
my love of homebirth. Yet I feel very happy and fulfilled with my work because
I am able to bring tenderness and attention to the birthing woman that I think
would otherwise be missing in a hospital setting. Intervention levels have run
the gamut, from basically none, to induction, Pitocin augmentation, epidural,
and c-section. So the main thing I focus on is nurturing, encouraging, and reaffirming
my clients, as my midwife did for me. I think of the pregnancy, birth, and early
postpartum period as the soil in which a new family, like a garden, will grow.
If I can help enrich that soil so it contains ample quantities of love, self-confidence,
hopefulness, and a sense of accomplishment, then I am doing my job.
- Mollie Matteson
MAY IS DOULA MONTH! Doulas, please submit a one-paragraph philosophy of doula practice to E-News, or a one-paragraph description of why your work is important, or aspiring doulas, submit a one-paragraph "Why I Want to be a Doula" description to E-News. Be succinct, feel free to cite studies and experience, or be poetic, speak from the heart! We will publish as many as we can fit throughout the month of May!
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Know a strong woman? Helping empower one? If you haven't already done so, please forward this issue of Midwifery Today E-News to one or two of your friends or business associates. Thanks so much!
I am a student midwife getting ready for an apprenticeship. I am considering a trip to Jamaica for hands-on experience. I would appreciate any information from someone who has apprenticed there and can speak from experience. Is there anyone who could let me know what it's really like?
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
From April 14 to 18, 2002 the 26th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives will take place in Vienna, Austria. The call for abstracts and second announcement can be found at: www.icm-congress.com
Deadline for abstract submission: 30.5.2001
For questions: email@example.com
Order of copies of second announcement:
Wiener Medizinische Akademie
Alserstr. 4, A 1090 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 405 13 83 11 , Fax: +43 1 407 8274
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to make contact to the Commercial Exhibition:
Freyung 6, A 1010 Vienna
- Dorothea Rueb
Org. Committee, ICM Congress 2002
INTERNATIONAL MIDWIVES, please direct your questions, comments, and needs to "International Connections." We're here to help you!
I am 15 years old and I am going to be a midwife. Do you know where to find out about midwifery schools or what I should do about school?
The only NACC-certified birthing center in the state of Michigan, the Family Birthing Center at Providence Hospital, is scheduled to close on June 1, 2001. This center, owned and run by Providence Hospital, has been open since 1979 and has been the birthplace of nearly 7000 babies. We need as many letters as possible written to the following individuals (in the order of importance):
Dr. Robert Welch/ Chair of OBGYN
Robert Casalou/ CEO of Providence Hospital
Rochelle Igrison/ Director of Women's Services
Sister Catherine Kelly/ VP of Missions and Ethics
16001 W. Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075
How does IV antibiotic treatment in labor for positive Group B Strep affect
the newborn infant? I have not been able to find any information besides that
it takes at least four hours for antibiotic levels in the amniotic fluid to be
high enough to take effect. I ask because a few moms who have had treatment have
said that they had problems with thrush for several months after the baby's birth.
More information on the pending legislation in Oregon [Issue 3:16]:
To read the proposed legislation, go to www.state.or.us
Click on Legislature, Bills/Laws (top of page), 2001 regular session, Search for
Specific Measure. Check Senate Bill, type in 730 in the box, hit search. When
the page comes up, click on Introduced. To contact your legislator on this matter,
the home page will lead you to how to find out who your legislator is and where to contact him/her.
When licensing was first proposed, we were told that it would be beneficial
not only to midwives but to the women they serve, as insurance would then pay
for midwifery care. As it turned out, women had to be referred by a physician
to a midwife. Licensing fees have increased dramatically, and who is in charge
of licensing seems to change yearly.
The new legislation would authorize midwives to purchase and administer certain
drugs. While on the surface this may seem like a good idea, one has only to look
to our sister midwives in California to know that it is not. Recent changes were
made in their laws because midwives were having great difficulty getting physician
backup. The law was changed, but midwives are required to carry Pitocin (which
they cannot get without a prescription from a cooperative physician). The wording
of the law has changed, but not the reality of practicing.
The proposed legislation does not state that carrying and administering these
drugs will be mandatory. It does state that continuing education "must include
training in the use of legend drugs and devices." I assume this to mean that
all licensed midwives will be required to do this even if they have no intention
of using these drugs. And as past experience has shown, it will not be long before
it will be mandatory to carry the items in order to be licensed.
This legislation also states that "After consultation with the Board of
Medical Examiners for the State of Oregon and the State Board of Pharmacy, adopt
rules to authorize licensed midwives to purchase and administer legend drugs and
devices in addition to those authorized." And there you have it! Now we've
got the Board of Medical Examiners in our business!
I do not mean to be an alarmist, but we have seen time and time again where
this road will lead us. We have seen it in other states as well as other countries.
More rules and more outside control will do us more harm than good. I would not
be surprised if we were to see non-licensed midwives become illegal in the near
future. This will follow with cease and desist orders for those who are licensed.
History will repeat itself. We are not immune to the same problems that plague
midwives across the country.
I urge everyone to take a look at this bill as soon as possible and to contact
their legislators to let them know whether you are for or against it.
- PeriAn Wilson
In response to the question about flax seed oil [Issue 3:16], nutritionist Marilyn
Shannon encourages its use in her book "Managing Morning Sickness."
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Midwifery Today: Each One Teach One!