The past couple of weeks, I've been working on establishing a PCA (Private Contract Association) with the guidance from my mentor and friend Jason Leister from Sovereign Business , husband to no other than my adored beloved teacher, mentor and friend Maryn Green at Indie Birth.
It's been an interesting process of digging deeper into what my Vision for the world is, together with my Belief and Mission Statements. I had not anticipated that I would be doing this kind of self-inquiry in order to work into manifesting my vision for mothers, babies and their families that I intend to serve.
Living in a state (California) where somebody like me - a license-free self-proclaimed midwife - is considered illegal, this has been a very interesting journey into finding my voice and my truth and bringing it into the world. If you've listened to me tell my birth stories on this podcast , you probably know that midwifery in Brazil is a-legal - meaning there is no precise regulation about the status of traditional midwifery - and that I had two traditional (and therefore unregulated) midwives at my last two home births in Brazil; one was a CPM at the time, and the other was a doula transitioning into becoming a traditionally-trained midwife.
My understanding is that radical (as in "root") traditional midwifery is part of the scope of practice of wise women healers who have been around for millennia. Although I love watching the show Call the Midwife and that I am truly grateful for ALL kinds of midwives in the world, I have to say that the way midwifery has been practiced, largely in the past hundred years, as one of the branches of obstetrics is NOT my cup of tea ("Birth is NOT a medical event", as Maryn has been saying for years). Yes, learning the science behind midwifery is important and I believe even more important is to be able to access our inner-guidance, intuition and our wise woman ways of dealing with life and the potential challenges involved in birth and beyond.
I'm not advocating here for not being educated or trained. I believe having skills is a must and that's why I study so hard and will continue to for as long as I'm practicing. I understand that midwives have tried really hard to have a body of competence and a minimum level of education and experience for direct-entry midwives, hence the creation of the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), who created the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential, for instance. However, it's my understanding that too much has been compromised and sadly lost once these rules and regulations, together with those imposed in certain states, were established. For the longest time I dreamed of becoming a CPM, but right now that's not the most important thing in the world to me. My priority right now is to get really clear about how I can best serve women in my community in a way that feels aligned with my truth.
I believe women are intelligent powerful beings who are the number one interested parties in having a healthy pregnancy, birth, baby and postpartum experience. That's why I believe it's up to the women to decide who they want to be attended by (if they choose an attendant) for their pregnancies and births. Women who have come my way are highly educated and understand the training and experience I have as a newbie midwife. Furthermore, I have decided to step away from the term BirthKeeper, which has accompanied me up until now, due to the enormous confusion that it stirs in the public. I'm claiming the title of midwife for myself, even though technically it "belongs" to the state of California.
In its roots, the term "midwife" means "with woman", and that's who I am: with woman 100%. When women know they are the experts in their experience and that we are there gracefully and humbly, they can choose an autonomous birth and still feel supported, witnessed and guided when needed. The knowledge, skills and experience that I have right now are enough to start serving my community with my gifts. I intend to continue to study and train, of course - this is such a vast field, and the more I learn, the more I feel so much is mysterious!...
Whether you're a woman looking into your options for birth and beyond or you're someone dreaming of becoming a midwife, or you are a midwife already, I invite you to take some time to consider what you've read on this text. Who is the authority when it comes to your body? Who do you serve? Why are you making the choices that you are making? Is it because you are following your inner-knowing and heart or because of indoctrination or fear? Take a pause and ask yourself these tough questions. I'm sure you'll find out something interesting. Please share with me. I'd love to hear from you.