Saturday, September 3, 2011

Back to midwifery

There is a lot of swirling in midwifery recently - the past 2 weeks have been rather tumultuous.

Which made me realise that I've not posted about midwifery in a long time. Lots of reasons - I am only 15 weeks away from finishing my degree, I have applied for a graduate position after a LOT of heartache and back and forthing with TheHusband, and it's just been a damn hard slog. I'm a little over it but I also need to dive back in.

But recently there's been a lot in the media - one midwife dragged into court to face a very one-sided roasting, midwives running around like chickens sans head about nothing, and lots of mentions about the rate of homebirths going up. All things to tempt me out of the hermitage!

And getting my brain working again. What I think this adds up to is that there is a push to define what a midwife is. Not just in the ways it's been done (to death) already but in a specific, task-oriented, check this list kind of way. So that if you palpate a belly, check any physiological measure, or whatever I've spent the past 5 years learning how to do - not the important stuff of working with women but the practical skills - then I need to be registered. And just as practicing medicine without a license is a crime, so practicing midwifery without registration will be.

And what that means is that only registered midwives will be allowed to practice midwifery. So midwives who are off the register won't be allowed to practice. Not just "are not allowed to call themselves midwives" but won't be allowed to support women in pregnancy or birth. Which I think is what some midwives in private practice have been working towards all along. And it will be the undoing of midwifery and be more limiting that freeing.

Midwifery will get more few layers. Doulas who do the old-fashioned and SO VALUABLE stuff of midwifery of supporting women in their travail with no medical advice involved; lay midwives who combine herbology, aromatherapy, body work, psychology and so much else to caring for women in their community; registered midwives in private practice hog-tied by insurance and regulation to not attend anyone who is not perfectly "no risk"; eligible for Medicare registered midwives doing even less midwifery and more paperwork; and the rest of the midwives who are able to go to work in the system.

And thus there will be another change in how women are served. We started off attending the births of our friends and neighbours, then worked on our own, trained apprentices doing the attending and so on. We tended our gardens and the ill, laid out the dead and welcomed the new, and our reputations were the most important.

Then changes came with the invention of anaesthetic and forceps and thus obstetricians were separated from midwives and the skills were separated. And so much was lost for the women.

Then into the hospitals.
Then into the universities.
And now this.

Call me paranoid but I think the persecution of Lisa for her role in a tragedy that had little to do with her and instead is part of the push to define midwives and limit practice of my craft to only those that hold registration.

1 comment:

Billie said...

Ain't nothing paranoid about that...

The other day my FIL was discussing how all the industry is going to China. My partner said he had heard that that's what they're planning. It's basically being set up so that different places do different things and one of those things is that all industry happens in China. My FIL said "is that another one of those *conspiracy theories*?" in a really condescending way. The thing is, his original statement just proved that it couldn't be a conspiracy theory. That is, it might be a conspiracy but it certainly isn't a's happening right in front of our eyes.

Anyway that's my long winded way of saying... it might sound paranoid to some, but this is exactly what is happening. Whatever their supposed intentions are is besides the point. They're limiting the practice of midwives and that is indeed a very very sad thing to be happening.