Internaltional Midwives 2016

Thank you for doing what you do, for being who you are, for providing the best care in difficult circumstances.
I am mindful of you and other positive midwifery practices that are brave enough to be with women with their choices
We need courageous role models least we forget and think coercion and abuse are the norm forgetting our own commitment to women their babies and their families and repalce it with a misguided loyalty to the sytem that feeds us.

The systematic abuse of midwives by some employers regulators media and even some consumers becomes so familiar that many midwives might complain about it yet stay in the abusive relationship out of familarity and misguided security.  Everyone wants to be safe.
The midwifery training gives a  student opportunities to see variations in practice.  The compassionate, the effective contrasted with those less so.  We build upon these experiences to make our own way.  We emulate best practices finding others to share ideas and reflections
Fear.  This is the single most corruptive factor.  it appears to justify all unnecessary interventions and controls.  Fear is an opportunity for courage.  Yes there are real risks with pregnancy and birth as with life.  We take precautions where possible yet would we use a seat belt that cut us in half in an accident?  Would we be so risk averse as to never go outside?

How do we release fear?
First with: Awareness then, by taking responsibility for our choices.

We all know our own bodies and minds better than anyone else.  We have all the resources  within us when we listen to our inner knowledge or intuition then balance this with knowledge from others such as research.  However much fear appears contagious we do always have choices.  We can look at the risks and benefits of doing or not doing something and use the rationale mind.  We can use intuition.  For some faith is an important part of their decision making processes.  For some their culture and extended family exercise strong influences.  Ultimately, we deicide.  We say yes or no.  We may negotiate.  We can walk away.  A choice that does not appear to be a choice in many circumstances.  Still a choice.  Doing nothing is often a brave choice as it can be difficult to justify.  (Why justify?)

The Court of public and legal opinion demand rationale which is in keeping with the group or herd consciousness.  Yet we see many variations and interpretations of laws, contrasting cases and individual beliefs in what is best.  We can use these to support our own ideas and practices.  All we need is to appear, or create the appearance of, reasonableness.  That means, another in a similar situation would have done the same.  Then get this in writting from a colleague.  This can be called expert witness opinion or simply peer support.  Look up similar cases that demonstrate the same point and verify your reasonableness.  Much of this applies to the women and to the midwives.  We are all judged by others.  We have done it to ourselves and to others.  Awareness of this brings choices as we responsibly choose to support and tolerate each others’ choices.  Awareness brings the freedom to be creative and the courage to follow the individual situation.

A regulator or employer may seek to sanction someone who has gone outside the norm.  This is an opportunity which can be welcomed instead of feared.  The opportunity to show how your rationale was the best choice at the time, what has been reflected upon and learned.  This shared body of knowledge is how the midwifery profession progresses repersenting all women not just those we make fit a particular model or culture of care.

A coroner will make recommendations to improve safety by learning from individual cases.  Unfortunately coroner’s are sometimes pursuaded by public opinion and fear rather than facts.  Any midwife or woman criticised by a coroner can show a higher court thier rationale and overturn a coroners report.

Fear of court?  This is an opportunity when other avenues have been exhasuted such as mediated debate on an issue.  By showing how the situation was reasonable and the other view was unreasonable the case will set a precedent and shine a light for others to follow.

Tolerance of differences is encouraged with cultural diversity yet not so much with midwifery practice.  Staying within the herd is ‘safer’.  those straying outside have to justify their actions and non-actions so much more.  Or do they?  Not if we judge less and tolerate more.  Ask ourselves, were we there in that situation with all the context and history that led to a particular decision?

Supporting each other even when we disagree is the essence of our interrelatedness as a family of midwives.

I celebrate midwives women their families and our entire global communities as we all work together.

Paul Golden
Midwife (Global)
Mediator (Employment and Regulatory Law)



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