i dont know what i am really. i call myself an outlaw midwife because i refuse to let the term ‘midwife’ be truncated into a definition that excludes most of the women who have been called a midwife, partera, sage femme, etc through our time and space.
things i have noticed about myself:
–i dont advertise my service
–i dont really write birth stories because i feel that the story belongs to the woman. there is something sacred in it. some thing private that they need to work out for themselves over time.
–i am horrible at charting. really. even when i worked in hospitals. charting requires that i step out of the flow, put on my neo cortex.
–i think of midwifery kind of like babysitting. i am a pretty good babysitter. i like kids. i am creative and energetic and calming at turns. i also know cpr and basic first aid. but if the kid falls and breaks her leg i am calling 911. yeah, it is also probably good that i know a good amt about child psychology and biology. so i dont think that a three year old having a temper tantrum is the end of the world. also so i know what are the signs if something is really wrong, a fever that just gets higher, a story that sounds like abuse. but its pretty intuitional though no matter how much knowledge and experience i gain. and the most important thing is that i respect kids. i respect their voice and their experience as is.
obviously really bad things can happen to kids. and if you babysit long enough you will have your fair share of stories. but thats life. life is unpredictable. and because kids are alive, are in life, there is no guarantee of safety.
and there are plenty of babysitters whose attitudes toward kids just make me cringe.
yeah i think the analogy works for a large part.
–most of the mamas i have worked with have been adventurers or artists or experimenters with life. i think this is why i am so comfortable saying, have the mama follow her intuition. because i work with mamas who already spend a good amt of their time doing so. they love ‘the flow’. they are used to taking risks. they are independent thinkers.
but that makes sense. i mean, you’d kind have to be the open minded pretty radical type to even engage someone who looks like me. darkskinned chick with dredlocks, black chipped nail polish, and an all around quirkiness. so, yeah.
–one of the most important skills for being a midwife, to me, is meditation. being there in the moment with the birth, as it is, not as i want it to be, or as i am afraid it is going to be, not driven by hope or fear, not trying to fix things or figure them out. but just being present.
sometimes i think of developing awareness practices for childbearing folks and midwives. because a lot of midwives seem to be run by fear. they play out the ‘what if?’ scenario more often than the ‘what is?’
i think doing so would allow for all of us to touch that intuition of here and now.
–also it seems that being a midwife really does connect one into communities. i see this time and time again. not because one is an expert (actually claiming some ‘expertise’ over anothers body and life is a way of disconnecting from the community) but because birth is an inherently communal event. it is one of those life events that happens to everyone and that changes the community. it just does. and how that change occurs, if the mama is empowered through that change, opens the space for the community to also be empowered toward a moral liberation (that is, a community which empowers ppl to do good for one another, rather than empowering folks to do ill to one another. for example, colonization and empire do not create morally liberatory communities.)