October 2 to 8 marks National Midwifery Week. National Midwifery Week was created by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) to celebrate and recognize midwives and midwife-led care.
Two of my three births were attended by midwives. My first birth in a hospital attended by an obstetrician might best be described using words like chaos, fear, coercion, and out of my control. Juxtapose that next to my subsequent home births with professional midwives which conjure words like calm, empowerment, grounded, respect and safety.
Midwives aren’t only attending births though, providing personalized, ethical care, but as this year’s Midwifery Week theme embodies– Midwives for Justice– midwives strive for justice on many fronts. You can find out about the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) national advocacy efforts here.
Midwives also play an integral role in establishing healthy infant feeding practices. Read the Global Breastfeeding Collective’s advocacy brief The Role of Midwives and Nurses in Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding here.
I am proud of and inspired by the work that my midwife Erin does beyond helping catch babies. You can read about her efforts as an ally here.
ACNM has created a beautiful toolkit to help us celebrate the midwives around us and the midwifery model of care this week and beyond. You can access that PDF here. It includes sample social media posts and ways to engage online, suggestions for community gatherings, and ways to celebrate accomplishments like parties, team building events and award ceremonies.
For further reading on midwifery care, especially indigenous midwifery care, check out Knowledge Keepers: Why We Need Indigenous Midwives and Giving Birth Where the Family Is, CommonSense Childbirth and Changing Woman Initiative’s Power of One Indigenous Midwifery Fellowship program at http://www.changingwomaninitiative.com/power-of-one-indigenous-midwifery-fellowship.html.
Past Our Milky Way coverage on midwives