Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I need your opinion!

One of the midwives I work with says that we should be careful about agreeing to be at a woman's birth even if we aren't on call. She wonders if we are disempowering women by doing that. She feels that we should be instilling the confidence in women that they can birth no matter who is there.

I agree with that. But I think it's also important that women feel comfortable with whomever shows up for birth. We are fortunate in that all the midwives in the practice are on the same page in terms of philosophy of birth. But we all have different personalities and attract different types of people. Is it so wrong to want to be there with a woman you have bonded with throughout her pregnancy...and that she wants you there? Would I really be disempowering her by making that committment? I just don't think so.

I'd really like to hear from others on this subject!


Jenn said...

I agree with you, that is the main reason I choose and reccomend midwifery care. You know and trust who is with you at your birth. In my mind, I had complete confidence in my ability to birth regardless of who was there, but I wanted the midwife I clicked with to be along for the ride.

Anonymous said...

Hmm... I can see it going both ways.

When I was pregnant the first time, I went to a practice that had two midwives. I preferred one to the other, and really hoped that she would be the one to attend my birth. She was not on call that night. And you know what? It was fine. In fact, the I preferred the midwife that I did because she seemed more energetic and upbeat, and it's just possible that she would have brought the wrong energy to my birth.

I agree that women need to know that they can do it by themselves; but I don't necessarily think that them preferring one midwife over another is a sign of fear or feeling incapable of giving birth without that particular midwife. Just as a woman might choose a few friends out of her larger circle of friends to attend a birth, so a woman might choose one midwife out of a larger practice -- not implying that she thinks she needs her best friend or mother to attend her, but just that she *wants* them there.

It seems like it would be enough for all the midwives in your practice to confirm to the woman who asks for a particular one that all the midwives share the same birth philosophy, so she will be in good hands regardless of birth attendant; that you will try to be there even if you're not on call, but that she can do it and will do just fine without you.


Anonymous said...

I can certainly see her point, but speaking for myself I would prefer to have some fractions of familiarity around my birth. As someone who is about to have her first child in a geographic location where I am utterly guaranteed to have never seen the person delivering my baby until they glove up, I appreciate the familiar. I feel empowered when I know there are things I can rely on. Touring the hospital enivornment and getting to know the policies that will ultimately dictate my options has helped me to feel confident about things I can and cannot change and that has helped me build confidence in myself. I imagine being able to know the person who would be caring for me rather than disempowering me would help me have greater confidence in the process as I would not have to worry about sharing it with a total stranger.

Joy said...

I actually have to agree with you. There's a reason a woman chooses the doctor/practice that she chooses. It is seriously stressful enough wondering what kinds of nurses you'll end up with (supportive? indifferent?) as they are with you far more than the doctor is.

Ciarin said...

Thanks for the thoughts!!!

Kathy - What you mention is what I usually do tell women..."that I can try to be there but that we are all on the same page, you'll get the same care from any of us". The other midwife also tells women that whomever is supposed to be there, is the right person for that birth. She's so zen-like :)

Lauren said...

I would definitely want, even expect the same woman to be there for me! I want to feel comfortable with the person who's with me.

Kate said...

I delivered with a midwifery practice at a major metropolitan area so I knew there was a good chance I'd end up with a midwife whom I had never met before. Maybe my opinion is based on the fact that I knew I couldn't request a specific person, but in my case I chose my care based on the hospital's and midwife unit's philosophy and the fact that I bonded with one specific midwife during my prenatal visits was an added bonus. The midwife on call was someone I had never met before but I felt immediately close with her and trusted her. So bottom line, I don't know whether one scenario is more empowering than another, but for me knowing it was luck of the draw was just part of the experience and I had to trust my husband and that I had picked a great practice more so than trusting one specific midwife.

Curdie said...

I like that thought:

"The other midwife also tells women that whomever is supposed to be there, is the right person for that birth."