An open letter to all midwives:
Greetings, glorious, Wise Women! We are your number one fans, and we want to thank you for assisting us at the most important time in our lives. Your loving, supportive presence helped us as we transitioned from woman to Mother; from mother of one, to mother of many. Some of us sought you out after experiencing care that was unacceptable, and your trust in our body and its natural abilities helped us to heal. Creating such a comfortable, safe environment for our most challenging, intimate experience was an incredible gift. Thank you.
A direct result of having this experience is the realization that we can do anything! We realized that we do not need to settle for less; that we can ask for what we want. Our birth experience has allowed us to gain the confidence in ourselves to stand up and speak out when we see injustice. That’s why we are writing to you all now. We see the way your cohorts treat you, and we find it to be unacceptable. We have seen midwifery practices closed because of physician opposition, and it has broken our hearts. We have seen physicians condescend to you because, in their eyes, your education is somehow ‘less than.’ We could not disagree more.
However, we have also noticed that some of you are treating each other in the same manner. Why? If you know what it feels like to be told that you are not enough, why would you turn around and tell a sister midwife the same thing? We love ALL midwives who practice in ALL settings. We understand that some practitioners are not as skilled as others in the same field, and that practitioners make mistakes. We are all human, after all. But at this time, when so many women are dying in childbirth worldwide, we need for you to put aside your differences and stand together. We know that the divide between midwives has a long and storied history, that emotions and egos have been wounded along the way. But the time has come for forgiveness. Your women need you to come to our aid. We need you to begin standing up to the oppression that is occurring all around us, in every practice setting. We have had enough.
Please let us give you the gift of our collective voices for all that you have done for us. We are ready to stand with you to create a new maternity care system, one that honors and respects birthing women.