Anyway. In my view, the ideal midwife is there, on call, either in the house or not, in case of the rare instances women need help in or after labor. Unhindered birth is my ideal, and I believe the physiological default, with some women wanting more or less emotional support.
Well worded. This is exactly what I feel is the most appropriate form of birth support, in a culture where birth is thought of as a normal life process. I'm glad that I've found that others have this view and that I've been able to learn from them. If I had just thought about it honestly, before my child was born, I think I would have come to this realization. Stupid me, for not being mindful in that process. But through that experience, I've started along to path to truly trusting birth, without feeling stuck to the cultural views that are so pervasive.
I'm interested in learning more about the different types of midwives across cultures in the past. Most of what I know about ancient or traditional midwives are what I read in popular fiction, mostly historical fiction based in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and Elizabethian England. From what I've read, many midwives were feared and marginalized even in those cultures and you didn't ever want to have to call her, because she was pretty much thought of as the town witch. But even the lady of the manor would call if a midwife was needed during a birth. (much like I see the UCers and homebirthers think of OBs when they become necessary in some situations).