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Old 11-02-2010, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I honestly don't mean to be offensive by this question, but I'm curious if other people have experienced this.

A close friend of mine is due in January. She's been seeing a hospital based cnm so far, but really wants to have a homebirth. So, she asked around about midwives and found 4 that serve her area. All but 1 of them are already booked for her due month. The 1 that is available seems very nice, but is very, very Christian. The thing is, my friend is an atheist and she's not sure how her (the midwifes) religious beliefs might come into play during her care. I've never been seen by a Christian midwife, so I'm not sure how it works. Is it even a big deal? Can my friend just tell the midwife her beliefs (if it comes up) and keep differences aside? What if the midwife tries to force her opinion on her? Should she keep looking for a different midwife (if even possible)?

Has anyone gone through this before?

TIA!

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Old 11-02-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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I'm an atheist. Both my HB MW & hospital-based CNMs I've seen asked me my religion & put it on a general form all about me. But we didn't discuss it.

While technically, a majority of Americans are Christian, a large percentage are not. Any HB MW with ANY sense of professionalism should be able to respect someone else's beliefs. (Well, any HCP, for that matter!!) Really, even my most devout Christian friends respect the fact that I'm a non-believer - so I find it hard to imagine someone who has chosen helping women as her career to NOT be capable of respecting differing beliefs.

Of course, if something is going wrong, (Well, or even if it's not) I'd expect the Christian MW to pray, but she can do that silently in her head & obviously NOT ask the Mama to join in.

I really wouldn't worry about it too much. Of course, if your friend is worried, definitely ask to just CONFIRM that she won't be preached-to but I wouldn't worry. I'd maybe phrase it, "What has your experience been with clients who's religious views differ from yours?"
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:52 PM
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My midwife is very Christian and so far during my last pg and this one it's never been an issue. I know what her views are just by looking around and she stated it in her "About me" paperwork. But we just don't discuss religion at all. She doesn't preach or try to convert me. Since you're in IL, you probably know that there are much more pressing issues that we can discuss about the homebirth political climate. To me it's just not a big deal or issue.

 
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:27 PM
 
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I'm not a Christian but my MW was. It was never an issue for us.

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Old 11-02-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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It shouldn't matter--and as these women have said, often religious differences of opinion are never made an issue of. HOwever, I have seen it come up--especially btwn highly religious mw and non-religious, or 'other, non-christian' families. If I were her, I'd definitely ask the mw about this. Of course, some of what occurs is sort of by-the-by, not intended to be a demonstration of religious prejudice...for instance, one family said that their highly christian mw, whom they much appreciated in many ways, made some disconcerting remarks about the family's picture of Krishna...kind of ridiculing it.

Anyway, it would be a topic I'd want to discuss with the mw.

BTW--where in IL is this mama? I may know of more mws than the ones she's met, if she is interested. PM me
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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I think this really depends on the individual, so your friend should probably talk directly with the midwife if she has concerns.

We decided against a certain midwife because she was extremely religious and allowed her beliefs to affect the way she interacted with clients. During our phone consultation I made it very clear that I was not married to my partner and had no intention of being married, and she actually CORRECTED me and said "husband" when I continued to refer to him as my partner. I feel like not only is that factually incorrect, but if she's that uncomfortable working with unmarried couples, she should refuse to take them as clients, not expect them to pretend to be married.

She also sent out materials to potential clients that heavily referenced her religion and recommended childrearing guides such as "To Train Up A Child"...eek!

So with all of that evidence before us, we decided that her particular style of incorporating her beliefs into her practice wasn't right for us. However, I'm sure there are plenty of religious midwives out there that can and do respect their clients' different beliefs and don't let it get in the way of their practice.
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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My midwife is very Christian and is very upfront about that on her website. I am not, and in dealing with her throughout my last pregnancy it really never came up. So I think if the midwife is professional is should be a non-issue. But your friend should absolutely discuss it with her beforehand.

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Old 11-02-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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I was worried about this at one point during my last pregnancy. A friend referred me to my midwife but told me that she had some reservations because part of the midwife's intake paperwork had a line about how she believes pregnancy to be a gift from God. Well, she was the only midwife who could take me at the time so I scheduled an appointment with hesitation.

Unlike in an office or clinical setting if the midwife does prenatals out of her home it will be very difficult to ignore her religious beliefs. There will be crosses, Bibles, and constant reminders of her faith. The kids will be home, They may or may not be studying from religiously based texts and dressed like the Duggars. However, she should not offer to pray with you or anything like that.

I was surprised that I developed such a strong connection with this very fundamentalist, quiverful woman who had very strict rigid gender roles within her family. These were all things that had scared me before but I feel we became friends and I am glad. The only time we have ever discussed religion is when I brought it up.

I am pregnant again and planning to use the same midwife.

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Old 11-02-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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I'm a Christian with a Christian midwife and it's never come up. I'm friends with her on facebook so that's how I know a little about her religious beliefs. Do we ever discuss it? Nope. It's not really relevant to an appt about pregnancy!

She can always ask her midwife if the religious differences will be an issue at all... or mention that prayer during labor would make her uncomfortable, etc...

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Old 11-03-2010, 12:05 AM
 
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I am a Christian and so is my mw, but the only time it has ever come up has been when I mentioned something about it. (DH previously worked in full time ministry, so it was a huge part of our lives.) Neither of us have said anything since then, it's just notnreally necessary.
I would hope that the MW wouldn't push a personal agenda on anyone, especially in a professional setting. So, I would just suggest for your friend to just meet with her, and ideally, things would work out. If not, there are others that might work better for her.

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Old 11-03-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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I'm a Christian with an athiest midwife. I have no problem with it and neither does she. When we go out to eat, my husband and I pray over our food and she sits in a respectful slience. It's all good sister!!!

No need to look for someone else I say. We can all help each other out.

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Old 11-03-2010, 12:40 AM
 
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Maybe she should just address it in a nonconfrontational way?

I'm a Christian, and I know my midwives have not shared my beliefs. But they have been sensitive, professional, and respectful. If she knows how to be professional and respectful, it shouldn't be a problem.

It's not like there are specific Christian "birth rituals" that would come into play. There's nothing religious a Christian mw would be *required* by her faith to do. Even if she felt she needed to pray, she could do that internally (and should, professionally speaking).
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your responses, it's much appreciated. It's a relief to know that it most likely won't be an issue. My friend will definitely bring it up with the mw and go from there. She lives in SouthEast Wisconsin, btw.

Thanks again!

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Old 11-03-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
It's not like there are specific Christian "birth rituals" that would come into play. There's nothing religious a Christian mw would be *required* by her faith to do. Even if she felt she needed to pray, she could do that internally (and should, professionally speaking).
I just had to highlight this because it's a good point.

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Old 11-03-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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Actually, I know a lot of Christians who believe it is their Christian duty to prosyletize--share their religion and seek everyone else's salvation. Just another reason to check it out with the mw.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:33 PM
 
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Not too much to add, but I am also a nonbeliever who had a (very religious) Christian midwife and it wasn't an issue up at all. I was worried about it initially, as I saw the scripture prints on her wall in her home and such, but it honestly never came up. Her clients seem to be of all stripes. I'm using her again with no qualms. But then, too, I scoured all of her written materials in the binder she gives out and on her website and there were almost no references to religion. Looking at her printed materials and how she presents herself professionally will probably give you some idea of how religion figures in, if at all, to her midwifery.

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Old 11-03-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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How your friend came to know this MW is very, very Christian may be an issue for me. How does she know?

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Old 11-03-2010, 10:39 PM
 
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Every midwife is different.

I think my mother is somewhere between agnostic and atheist (to the point that I'm not sure because she doesn't ever talk about it lol) and my dad has very mixed spiritual beliefs (he likes to read about different religions, and most of his spirituality falls somewhere between buddhism and paganism and who-knows what else). When I was older and came across the web site of the midwife who attended the births of myself and my siblings, I noticed that she made it VERY clear that she was Christian. So I went to my mom with a raised eyebrow and asked her about it. She said her midwife never really brought it up...period. I suppose she would have taken a more religious approach if my parents had been Christian as well, but she had no problem respecting her beliefs.

Any good midwife will leave her religious beliefs out of it if the parents are not of the same mindset.

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Old 11-03-2010, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How your friend came to know this MW is very, very Christian may be an issue for me. How does she know?
The mw's bio states she's a strong Christian woman and quotes biblical scriptures. "Very Christian" was the vibe my friend interpreted from that.

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Old 11-03-2010, 11:29 PM
 
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i would say something along the lines of " i'm not religoius, is that going to be a problem."
my mw is VERY religious, but i never knew it until one of her assitants mentioned it and another client joked about calling her during services once. i didn't know until my second baby.
she never said anything to me about it. one of her assistants was heavily tattooed and she attendes many many orthodox jews in our area.
in my case, i'm becoming more spiritual, but i don't think it would ever be an issue with my mw. i think most mw i have met wouldn't make it an issue.
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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My mw is very Christian and even considers her homebirth practice a Christian practice. There are crosses on the walls and Bible quotes on her website. Her faith is mentioned several times throughout her bio and in some literature she hands out (ie, the 36 wk home visit can include a blessing, pray time etc and the info she hands out on that includes this). I am not Christian. She asked me at my initial appointment when my religion was and if there was anything she or her birth assistants could do to help me bring my religion into my birthing expirence. I was really shocked at this, in a good way! Not only was she willing to not bring her religion into my pregnancy, but she was willing to walk outside her comfort zone to make sure my religion was upheld. Since there was nothing that really needed to be done by her, I declined. Beyond that, religion has been a total non issue. She's never brought it up since.

Its going to depend on the midwife, but I would hope and expect that professionalism wins out and the mw is respectful.

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Old 11-03-2010, 11:40 PM
 
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My MW with #2 was christian and quite so, I am an atheist. I don't advertise my beliefs, I didn't realize it was such a large part of her life until our second appointment. I had switched at 30 weeks, so this appointment was like at 34 weeks and there was no one else to switch to. Honestly, it never was an issue. I didn't say anything her her about it and she never made until to me. I later learned from a good friend of mine that my MW would only take on helpers, assistances, that where of her same belief system, and was quite vocal about being christian in the small, local birth community. While I don't share the same beliefs as her, she was able to keep it separate for clients and I have no issues with the care I received.

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Old 11-04-2010, 12:08 AM
 
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The mw's bio states she's a strong Christian woman and quotes biblical scriptures.
In that case, I'll admit that this would put me off.

My MW with DC was spiritual in some sort of "new-agey" way and I do feel that it got in the way of our relationship. I wouldn't question her more as a Christian but as a woman of faith I would want to know that she was comfortable dealing with different belief systems AND lack of beliefs.

I do think sometimes people with a strong faith have a better time relating to people of other faiths than they do with atheists.

It sounds though like lots of mamas have had great experiences so I would just suggest she talk with the MW about it...at the very least it will be interesting it seems like a great way to get to know her.

Good luck to your friend!

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Old 11-05-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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I went to a Christian midwife, found that out through the course of my care as I mentioned God or praying (myself being a Christian), I didn't actively seek a Christian midwife. Her faith did not play a role in my care, she never brought it up, only spoke of it if I did first, and I recall her saying that she has prayed audibly for her mamas in labor if they asked her to (again, after I brought up the subject). I'm sure her non Christian clients would never have known she was a Christian other than her kindness (which I'm not saying is exclusive to Christians)....

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Old 11-05-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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I think that if the midwife has dealt with enough clients she is going to be understanding and you won't notice a difference. In some (not most) Christian families there could be some cultural differences that could possibly come up. I am Christian but my beliefs are not as strict as some. My Christian midwife last time tried to convince me to quit my job and stay home with my baby. This was not feasible at the time. She didn't state it was due to her Christian beliefs but looking back, I think that may have played a role. In Christian households the man of the house may be looked upon to make decisions that in many other modern households they are not. If your midwife is used to dealing with those outside her particular denomination of Christianity, I really don't think you will notice a difference.
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:55 AM
 
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Just wanted to add something to the idea of a *professional* midwife...

I have a friend who used a Christian mw (friend was Christian too). The mw spent a period of time in the corner praying for my friend instead of calling 911 for a transfer. The baby was not predicted to make it (even by supportive docs at the hospital) and my friend was in bad shape too. (Dystocia followed by retained placental fragments) Luckily everything turned out fine. I have NO issues with praying over that birth, but do it while waiting for the ambulance.

As long as mw has references that show she is prudent in her judgement and doesn't put prayer over safety nets, I'd say go for it. I would think that most mw's (mine included) who are Christian have non-believer clients. Asking to speak with references who are also non-believers would give you a good idea of how she operates.

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Old 11-08-2010, 03:39 AM
 
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I have no idea what faith, if any my beloved CNM, Connie had/has. It never came up. Part of being a professional is following a code which has nothing to do with personal faith.... hers or the patient's.
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Old 11-21-2010, 04:11 AM
 
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All the HB midwives that I met/interviewed with are very Christian.  I am so NOT religious.  But it was not an issue at all for me.  There was a little religious stuff in some of the written materials and informational papers that she gave me each month about my pregnancy.  But they never tried to convert or even discuss religion with me. 

 

You probably won't find it to be an issue because their focus is on your pregnancy and not on evangalizing you.  My midwives did pray and ask the powers that be for a healthy and safe mother and child when they got there at my birth but that was the biggest extent that religion came into play for me.

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Old 11-21-2010, 08:31 PM
 
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I had a very Christian MW with my third baby and the only issue I had was she was uncomfortable with my nudity during labor and when I was in my tub. She kept trying to cover my breasts/belly with a towel! But she was an excellent MW. She and her apprentice did say prayers after my  baby was born (I didn't have an issue with that) and all was fine.

Her life was based on scripture and she wore a bun, long home-made dresses and so on. Very prudish and uncomfortable about sexuality but nice.

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Old 11-21-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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It really depends on the midwife. My midwife is very very Christian. Like, quasi-Quiverfull Christian. I'm a Neo-Pagan Druid. I've known her for years and we're friends on facebook, so everything is/was very out in the open. We disagree on a lot, but have a very respectful relationship, and not once did religion come up in either prenatal care or birth. Heck, I was using a sheela-na-gig as a focus object for awhile and she wasn't even fazed. Everything I know about my midwife's religious beliefs has come up socially. I would have been somewhat put off had she put scripture quotes in papers or declared her practice "Christian." Then again I generally avoid explicitly Christian businesses as I figure they don't want my type around.

 


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