First of all, check out my handsome new addition in that featured photo!!! Isn’t he the sweetest little squish?!
Just like with everything else, I’ve started to notice more and more that recommendations for safe birth methods depends on who you ask. And even more specifically, the answer can strongly depend on where that person is from. Of course, this is all based on my limited perspective, but hear me out.
Californians, for example, seem much more likely to recommend midwives than, say, an Arizonan or someone from New Mexico. Interesting, right? Again, my sample size is relatively small, but that’s what I’ve seen so far. I, myself an Arizonan, am new to the realization that midwives are not “old school” or extinct. And so I went ahead and decided to see what other people around the USA and Canada think when they hear the words “midwife” or “doula”, something other than the popular OB-GYN option. Oh boy, did I get an earful! I finally just had to close the conversation down because I was getting so much information! A problem I’ll take any day. So, if you need resources and ideas of where to learn about what these different kinds of birth professionals do, scroll on down to the next heading! If you’re here for other people’s stories and opinions as well, then hang around and just keep reading.
And remember, however a baby is delivered, the celebration and community support of new life is something that everyone in the world ought to be able to share. We all share similar fears, indescribable pains, and miracles in the process that unite us. So let others have their opinions, and with a grain of salt let their stories help you consider your personal preferences.
The first thing I learned from a number of women, is that some people are very particular about their types of midwives. Like, who knew that the term “midwife” alone doesn’t cut it anymore? Not me! There are Certified nurse midwives (CNMs), Certified midwives (CMs), Certified professional midwives (CPMs), Direct entry midwives (DEMs), and Lay midwives. Most people who specified the type of midwife seemed to share experiences about CNMs.
If I were to let someone else from the group discussion answer for me my feelings towards personally using midwives and doulas, I think it would be Sharon Y:
I have had two kids and never used a midwife. I think of them as for people who prefer to take a less clinical approach to childbirth. If you want to be able to birth in your home, if you want to avoid epidurals – get a doula/midwife. Also use if you have the money, and just want all the support you can get, want more personalized care that you’re not getting from an ob/gyn – get a doula/midwife. I don’t fit into these categories, thus I have not opted for a doula or midwife.
Well said, Sharon. I like epidurals, so I’m gonna stay in a hospital! And if I had the money, I might get a doula and/or midwife in the future.
One or two individuals stepped up to represent, what I assume, is a much larger percentage of people than actually contributed to the conversation. Like Brittany W. R. who put it bluntly,
“I have no freakin idea what they do. That’s the best answer I have.”
With all the new info and perceptions I was getting cyber-thrusted at me in this learning process, my first thought was same here, Brittany. Same.
Whitney P. M. helped clarify some of my confusion by explaining that,
“when I finish [school] I will be a nurse practitioner who delivers babies a.k.a Certified Nurse midwife. I will likely work in a hospital but some with the same training work in birth centers and a few do home births. CNM’s can prescribe medications, and do all gynecological care including birth control, annual exams/pap smears, and be a primary care provider treating things like diabetes, high blood pressure issues, and thyroid problems. I will also be able to care for newborns under 28 days old.”
Others boldly shared the type of skepticism and critiques born of personal traumatic experiences and the horror stories of others.
“My view of midwives is colored by the following: My healthy mother who had a normal pregnancy would have died had she not delivered me in a hospital. She almost did die with my brother, even in a hospital. Evolutionarily speaking, the trade off humans made for the ability to walk upright is a very narrow birth canal that leads to a high natural maternal mortality rate. Although some midwives are consummate professionals, the number who erroneously state that there is very little risk in childbirth for healthy women with normal pregnancies make me view the entire profession with a high degree of skepticism.”Megan M.
I never even considered a midwife because I wanted to have my baby in a hospital with experts who knew what they were doing and could step in when needed. I knew two families who delivered with midwives at home and the baby had issues that weren’t caught and the babies died.Ali C.
It wasn’t until moving to CA that I learned that some midwives deliver at hospitals so you don’t have to labor in a baby pool in your living room to use a midwife.
One practicing midwife contributed points to the conversation that really caught my attention. I was so impressed at the kind way this woman approached and stood up for the many totally appropriate birthing choices available to accommodate the many different kinds of women in this world.
” I am a homebirth midwife. In a sentence or two, my mission is to support women and birthing people who desire a homebirth plan for and have one as long as pregnancy and labor are normal. Long can still be normal. Midwives are healthcare providers. Doulas are support people. Implicit in your questions seem to include a question about “why home.” That is a different question. There are different risks in hospital than at home, and as a birthing woman, whose births were before I was a midwife, I wanted birth to be considered non medical. I had an OB for 1, then 2 births in hospital with midwives. My last 2 births were at home, and I finally felt like I was supported with the expectation that birth was normal. Caveat, I believe the midwives I had in hospital also had that philosophy but had hospital policies that were arbitrary and anti-normal birth. Bottom line, I believe there should be choices, and I support one sort of choice in professional capacity.”
“..statements of absolutism do not match with many, many womens experiences. How people perceive risk is different too, from all perspectives. I have clients who choose homebirths because they perceive the higher risk perspective of the hospital to be riskier to them and their preferences.”Becky Banks, at Little Star Birth Midwifery
That last quote is pure gold. I think we have to remember that everyone has different fears, different risks, and different changes to face when welcoming a new human to their life. And each of us should be able to get the care that feels the most supportive for our situation without backlash. What kind of birth method feels right to you? Share how you decided and feel free to read more of the responses to my original post here:
Continue the conversation below by adding where you’re from and who you go to (have gone to) for support as you go through pregnancies and labor/delivery!
Resources to Learn More
If you haven’t checked out my What We Can Learn From 20 Mom-Centered Birthing Traditions then click HERE to see some of the amazing traditions people around the world use to support mothers. Each of the following women went above and beyond to send me resources, personal experiences, and kind words of encouragement in my own motherhood journey! I was fascinated by what these women do to really help families have great experiences as they grow bigger! Aside from just being a pure MIRACLE, I think birth is fascinating because those first moments of new life can tell you so much about a community and the ways people serve each other. If you’re interested in learning what your options are, then you might start by simply finding these women’s mission statements and services on their websites.
First, the Facebook world introduced me to Doula Noleen CD(DONA), a birth doula and photographer in the Phoenix area. When I first checked out her website (www.doulanoleen.com), I could tell she was a lady of many talents – combining her photography skills with her knowledge and support as a doula to give families something memorable and meaningful. Sometimes I wish I had a doula just for life in general to help me achieve my goals, and then document my miracle moments to remind me how amazing life can be at the end of hard things!
Then, Noleen connected me to Elizabeth from Matrescence! This is also located in Phoenix, AZ. Elizabeth does something I had never realized is a thing. I mean, I should have. But, I didn’t. She is a 4th Trimester Educator and Peer Support Specialist for Maternal Mental Health. She explained, “My business partner and I educate pregnant women about the time period after baby arrives and help them create a robust, custom plan of support to ease their transition. We introduce the common elements of traditional care around the world and invite them to reimagine how that might look in their modern-day life.” I highly recommend checking out what they do by clicking HERE and browsing their website (https://www.4thtrimesterplan.com/).
Last, but certainly not least, I was searching hashtags on Instagram for cool birthing stories around the world, when I discovered @chillmamawellness! I fell in love reading her posts, so I went to her website (https://chillmamawellness.com/), and within a few days had a really beautiful – though brief – correspondence with her! Amy is an Australian Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher and Childbirth Educator. She uses all of these skills to promote healthy pregnancies and motherhood. I especially appreciate the way she brings yoga and massage to the forefront of women’s health during a time when it can be hard to be active!
Hopefully one of those types of professionals gives you an idea of where to find some support that’s just right for you. You can find women like the ones I met in all sorts of social media groups, or just by googling “doula/midwife/childbirth educator” in your area. Resources like WIC and hospitals can also point you in the direction of these types of supporters and advocates.
If you found this helpful or interesting, then head on over to my Facebook, Instagram, or share your email below to learn more fun things that connect people around the world! And look out for my freebies and activities for kids coming soon!