Religious Midwife Problem - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-15-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all, this is my first post but I have been lurking a bit ever sense my hubby and I decided that we where going to TTC  #2.

 

I live in TN, but unfortunately there are only a few (well, actually only one) homebirth midwives with-in a hour of my home.  Luckily I did find a midwife that was willing to drive the distance to my house. I have been more or less stalking her website sense then, lol. 

I  talked to her on the phone briefly and she seems very sweet.  She even worked in the Nurse-Midwife clinic I saw while I was pregnant last time, and I remember her from there. The mid-wives at the clinic rotated who you saw at each per-natal visit, so I even worked with her a bit, though I ended up with a doctor delivering me and not a midwife.

 

Anyway, up until a couple days ago it seemed she would be a really good fit with us.  But when I was checking out some of the links to the forums she has new clients fill out (they are about her philosophy, payment options, ect.) I ran across the info that she is very religious and active in the pro-life movement.

 

While this would normally be a big plus to most people here in the bible belt, this is actually now something I am worried about.

 

Her being a christian isn't itself a problem for me. I honestly think everyone should believe how they want. But I am now worried that my cussing may offend her.  I am being honest with myself when I say I probably wont be able to NOT cuss while in labor.

 

 

The big issue here for me though is the pro-life stuff.  I am pretty active in the local women's rights movement, I'm very pro-choice, and I had an abortion about a year and a half ago.

 

I dont feel I should have to hide my actions from her, as I am not ashamed, but I also do not want to be judged by someone who is suppose to be supportive during a venerable time. I also worry that her pro-life stance could be a problem if something horrible where to happen with the pregnancy and we ended up needing an abortion for medical reasons. 

 

So what should I do? Is there a good way to bring the topic up to her?

 

Sorry for any typos and such. I am dyslexic.


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Old 09-15-2013, 04:05 PM
 
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Hi and welcome to Mothering.com!  Congratulations on your pregnancy! 

 

I think you could bring up the topic of her by asking her if she has any strongly held beliefs that would impede her ability to give her best level of care to you, the client.  Or ask her how she views her role.  I understand ideally she is going to do what is best for the two of you together, but if it came to a point where you had to make a decision that she didn't agree with, or she had to make a decision that would be more harmful to one of you than the other, what does she see as her first priority.  I realize these are kind of theoretical questions, and a real life question would almost never be that cut and dried, but I also know that when we are pregnant, we may see it that way.  

It's not uncommon for a pregnant woman to have this feeling, and to state that if something is going wrong, she wants to know that everything will be done to save her that is possible (or the baby over herself).  I'd also let her know up front that you will probably use bad language, and ask her is that going to invoke any negative emotions in her.

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Old 09-15-2013, 06:44 PM
 
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I would not worry at all about cussing in labor, if she has attended a woman in labor a time or two I would say she's used to it. You can't help it really...IMO you have every right to cuss lol.

 

In the paperwork I filled out with my homebirth midwife there was a section on past pregnancies, miscarriages, and abortions. Maybe it will be in some paperwork you fill out and you won't actually have to *talk* about it. If it doesn't come up in paper work, you might want to mention it.

 

And no, you shouldn't have to hide your actions from her. I would hope she is open to working with people from all walks of life. If you feel you are being judged, maybe you should try to find someone else.

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Old 09-15-2013, 08:04 PM
 
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If she is experienced, I bet chances are that she has attended all sorts of women, religious and non, and probably many who have had abortions. It would bother me slightly as well because it's important to me that birth workers are supportive and believe in autonomy. However, if you like her and she is your best choice it's probably fine. I might ask her how she feels about working on it his women with different religious preferences and different life choices like abortion. Even if she is against them, she probably knows that her role is to be supportive and provide the best care she can regardless of her personal beliefs.
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Old 09-15-2013, 08:47 PM
 
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Is there anyone else? I would not feel comfortable with a labor attendant who was so out of sync with myself and my family.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I believe she has a few other midwives that work with her, but other than her practices, there are no other midwives that attended homebirths in the area. So its her or a hospital birth.


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Old 09-15-2013, 09:41 PM
 
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I'm guessing/hoping she is able to keep her personal beliefs out of her work. I'm SURE she has heard women cuss in labor (probably more so than not). 


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Old 09-15-2013, 10:38 PM
 
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I don't know any Christian midwives who are offended by people cussing in labor. The abortion thing is tough, and I think it's something you should be straightforward about and ask her if/how that would affect your care.


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Old 09-16-2013, 02:50 AM
 
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I dealt with this in my first pregnancy: I am post-abortive also, also a year prior to my first child.

My HB CNM was Catholic by birth but not practicing (altho also did not place IUDs). Halfway through my pregnancy she fired her assistant & hired two temporary assistants, CNM students, one of which performed ABOs for PP as her day job & was very vocally ProChoice. I felt that important medical info was witheld from me by PP during my experience, so I just had a lot of baggage around having that CNM @ my birth.

I was straight up about my history & my feelings & another MW was chosen to assist @ my birth. Will your MW be having a second MW @ your birth? Could she act as primary?

I think this is a real issue around birth, especially homebirth & should be discussed openly.
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Old 09-16-2013, 10:12 AM
 
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In a worst case scenario, you and your husband want you to be saved over the child, right? Hopefully, you'd have made a hospital transfer by then, but you never know.

 

A vocally pro-choice midwife is likely to be subtly biased towards saving the baby first, regardless of what the law says. You should possibly discuss this with her? It will probably be awkward.

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Old 09-16-2013, 11:08 AM
 
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I think any MW is going to be subtly biased toward saving the baby first. Only because a) the baby's life is WAY more @ risk in any birth (intrapartum mortality is measured per 1000, maternal mortality is measured per 100,000) & b) because they get in way more trouble if the baby goes because 50% of the time, the mama leads the charge, and society has historically valued infant life.

The single biggest mortality risk in the mother is from Cesarean. So I fail to see how anything a MW could do @ home would truly endanger a mother's life @ to save the baby. HB inherently displaces some risk from the mother onto the infant.
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Old 09-16-2013, 04:38 PM
 
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As another mother in the “Bible belt,” I also found that all midwife services that were available to me were also Christian based. Like you, I felt that it was quite likely that I would be doing a lot of cussing in labor and had some concerns. I even somewhat “jokingly” brought the matter up to them at an early appointment, and they said that they had NEVER had a woman who cursed so badly in labor that it was found to be offensive, and that most women, even those who considered themselves to be very religious, did curse at some point in their labor. As it turned out, we were all laughing after my labor, because the midwives and MIL were talking about how amazed they were that I never let even one curse slip, at which point I had to ‘fess up that in the early pushing stage, just before they offered to break my waters, I had pushed through a contraction and felt DD move back to the original position that she was in before the contraction and let out a heartfelt, “Shit! Shit! Shit!” Apparently it wasn’t nearly as loud as I thought it was – and it may very well be that some cursing in the moment will be a lot more noticeable to you than it is to the attendants. I might include that DH did also notice my cursing, though he obviously wasn’t offended – just to point out that he had no clue at that point how close the baby was because he thought that my starting to curse meant it was just the tip of the iceberg as far as “real” labor.

Unfortunately, I’d say, the abortion issue may be a more uncomfortable one. I am pro-choice myself, but have never found myself in a situation where I felt that an abortion was the best choice for myself. My feelings would be that in most cases, I’d estimate that midwives (and even a large number of OB/GYNs), are pro-life (after all, their jobs consist largely of helping deliver babies into this world). I would also think that the vast majority of them would be able to put their personal/political beliefs aside and provide the exact same level of care to a woman with different beliefs/experiences. It’s something that would arise fairly early, in discussing previous history. I guess I’d just base my decision on how I felt about how the information was treated and how I felt I was treated after sharing the history.

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Old 09-22-2013, 06:23 PM
 
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She might be biased to believe you need healing and forgiveness regarding your previous abortion, but I doubt she'd be harshly judging and biased against you about it. Hopefully the medical implications will be foremost to her and she'll follow your lead about whether or not you need emotional healing. If you needed an abortion for medical reasons you would transfer your care to someone else anyway, and if it were save the baby or you, Biblically the mother comes first.

 

I'm sure she's heard loud and prolific cussing at births before. Maybe it'll make her laugh. Might punctuate the stress slightly if the moment is tense but she can handle it.

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Old 09-23-2013, 09:20 AM
 
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Been following as it's a concern for me as well. I've got a second appointment with a midwife tomorrow and it will be the first time that she has seen my records. Some of the discussion will undoubtedly be around abortion as I had one when I was young. While I don't necessarily know the religion of my midwife I know the clientele she mainly serves are Amish. Therefore I've been concerned about this as well. Glad to have read the responses.

 

MoodyAlly have you met or spoken with her again yet?

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Old 09-23-2013, 10:07 AM
 
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^I have seen tons of providers post-abortively & I always mention it & it has never been an issue or 'discussed' before.

The only reason from a HCP POV to 'discuss' it is if there were complications that could affect the Uterus/Cervix, if it was for a medical diagnosis (i.e. wholly not elective) or if the patient has emotional issues around the process or the loss. I'd be more than annoyed if it was delved into outside of those situations.

The one time it got stupid awkward was with my insurance company. A guy called me to screen me for the high risk coordinator. He asked me 'how many pregnancies & how many live births?' I answered but wasn't clear enough & I got flagged for '2 or more m/c'. When the nurse got on the phone I explained that one of my losses was elective but that I was not about to explain that to a 25 year old maLe phone screener & she apologized & I was I deflagged.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:16 AM
 
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I just saw this. I think it is important for you to discuss this with your provider as it might add to the variation in your normal birth. Sometimes it might happen that a woman might stall in labor, and it could possibly be a mental block around previous pregnancies or abuse. I have many friends who are pro-life while i am pro-choice, we still are still able to be respectful in that place.

 

As for cussing. IMO if a midwife is offened by swearing they are in the wrong line of work.

 

Hoping you are able to find somme peace with however this unfolds for you.


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Old 09-23-2013, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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MoodyAlly have you met or spoken with her again yet?

 

No, I haven't. We are planning on setting up a meeting when we get a positive pregnancy test. Its taking us longer than expected to conceive. We have always gotten pregnant really easy before (too easy!) but this is the first time we have tried to get pregnant, so I guess we will just have to see how long it takes. When we do talk to her, I will be sure to update and let you all know how it goes.

 

I want to say thank you for all the advice and responses. I really want to have a good relationship with my Midwife and feel comfortable with her so I can have a better birth. I am feeling much more confident in bring up my concerns now, and feel more confident that it will work out. I really manged to stress myself out over it, duh.gif.  Hopefully now that I am less stressed we will get that + this month. ::love

 

In a worst case scenario, you and your husband want you to be saved over the child, right? Hopefully, you'd have made a hospital transfer by then, but you never know.

 I missed this before and would like to address it. In a worst case scenario during birth, I would want everything done in the midwife's power to save both of us.   I don't really see a scenario really happening where they would have to pick one over the other.   This will be a very much wanted baby, so we will take just about any avenue to have a healthy baby.  Just because I am pro-choice doesn't mean that I think a full term baby is dispensable or that I would choose myself over my child.   In my original post, when I referred to something going horribly wrong with my pregnancy and needing to terminate, I was referring to a cases such as the fetus being incompatible with life, serious birth defects, ectopic pregnancy and the like.


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Old 09-23-2013, 11:15 PM
 
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I do not understand why is it even an issue? I have no idea what religion my doctor is. He does not ask me and I do not ask him. True professional  have boundaries.

 

If this MW treats her clients differently because of their religion, she should not be providing care to anyone ever.

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Old 09-24-2013, 07:14 AM
 
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What about the nuns who are nurse midwives? And the mennonites? All those who do it because it is their spiritual calling? Those who gain their strength, peace, patience, and love from that? Not that the client's religion matters, but a sincere believer has their religion color every aspect of their life in a positive way.

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Old 09-24-2013, 08:10 AM
 
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I have a religion too and I draws strength from it, but it has not effect on how I treat people I work with. They never have to think of how my religion might impact them. If my doctor's religion was impacting me and he would refuse a procedure because of it, I would file a complaint.

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Old 09-24-2013, 08:50 AM
 
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Then there is their moral compass to consider, medically needed things they are capable of doing sure they had better help or at least not try to stand in your way or talk you out if it. But in elective things, some examples more widely accepted here are what if a couple found out they were having a girl as so wanted an abortion due to the gender, or say a doctor is against RIC and the parents demand they personally circumcise the child. Would you file a complaint if they refused, shared more info with the patient and expressed an opinion, or referred to another doctor?

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Old 09-26-2013, 09:01 AM
 
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JamieCathryn, I think you have kind of hit the nail on the head. It all comes down to the question of if there is a difference of opinion for religious/moral/or any other reason, how that will be dealt with. It is about determining whether or not this individual is so devoted to beliefs as to put them ahead of professional differences. In my limited experience, with a great team of midwives and assistants, although their religious leanings were made clear, there was never any question. I think if OP has truly found the right midwife, this will also be the case. But I'll admit, in the beginning of seeing my last midwives I was made a bit nervous about how blatantly the religious issue seemed to be stressed both on their Web site and throughout their office. But their demeanor was totally different and not pushy about it, so I think it all comes down to actually meeting with the person a few times and seeing how the actual interactions go.

 

As far as what's acceptable in turning down care, I find it completely reasonable for a practitioner to turn down an abortion for any reason (including medically). A midwife is highly unlikely to be qualified for the procedure, anyway. I don't feel that they'd have any responsibility to make a referral for an optional abortion, though if one were medically indicated, I would think they would at least bear responsibility to refer to a high-risk OB (since that would be obvious), whether or not that person performed abortions, and from there, that person could refer for abortion if unable to perform the procedure.

 

(I will preface this by saying my own beliefs are anti-circ,) In terms of RIC, I would say, again, that I'd have no problems with any practitioner who refused a circ. I would have problems with a practitioner who was so firm in the belief, as I have heard some mention on other threads, that they refused to continue care for a mother who intended to have another practitioner circumcise their son following the birth. It is obviously not their decision. I think this might be a good question in terms of where I think I would draw the line on what I felt was someone who would provide me with unbiased care, and might be a good question to bring up the issue and see how firm those beliefs are, even if a mother doesn't plan to circumcise. A mother could ask at a first appointment, "If we have a son, we are undecided on whether or not we will circumcise. What are your beliefs on RIC, and will you perform the circumcision if we have a son and choose to circumcise?" If a practitioner answered that if you find out the gender in advance and plan to circumcise, they would refer you to someone else for care or discontinue your care, I would run the other way. Obviously there would be other issues.

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Old 09-27-2013, 07:48 PM
 
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That would be a dilemma for me as well - not so much for this MW's beliefs but that they are available online. I guess I'd have to see them but if my MW were posting political things about legal issues concerning abortion or was really active in the pro-life political realm, that would be a deal-breaker for me. BUT, I would have no problems if my MW were religious and/or had personal feelings about abortion.  But, if they crossed over into what others do and/or she posted in all but the most restrained, professional manner about the issue, I don't think I would see her. That would be my choice about her profession, who she serves and why and our values about the role of a MW would clash too much. 


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Old 09-30-2013, 07:46 AM
 
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Well to update at least on me. My visit with my midwives went well. The D&C topic came up with the rest of my medical history and it was noted but the worry I had was gone pretty quickly. At the end of the conversation as we were discussing SS#'s for hubby and I, as well as city born for each for the birth certificate she also asked if we practiced a faith. She actually prefaced it with something to the effect that it's not an important question for them. So I came away feeling better about my concerns on those items. At least in my case, faith which is integral to their practice and those they serve (on their business cards talk about the Lord), does not seemingly affect whether they will deal lovingly with me. HTH.

 

And FWIW - the worry about it stemmed from an honest place. Midwives, different than OBs I've dealt with, work on emotional, spiritual and physical healing to promote a happy healthy birth. The time they spend with you is more impactful (like a friend who you want at your birth) and so therefore is a billion times more personal than many other professionals. Just like you wouldn't want a family member who is judging you or has conflicted feelings about you at your birth - you wouldn't want a midwife or OB there if there were similar worries. I think the mindset is different. Back before I knew how intimate the midwife model of care could be I wouldn't have cared one way or the other what a professional who treated me thought and felt as long as I didn't know about it and it didn't affect me in any way. Now I know all the different feelings and fears that can affect a good labor for some people and how key a great personal relationship can be to that success.

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Old 09-30-2013, 07:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catwmandu View Post

 

 

And FWIW - the worry about it stemmed from an honest place. Midwives, different than OBs I've dealt with, work on emotional, spiritual and physical healing to promote a happy healthy birth. The time they spend with you is more impactful (like a friend who you want at your birth) and so therefore is a billion times more personal than many other professionals.

 

Yes!  And something that only needs to be explained to those posting who don't use HB. :eyesroll 

 

I'm glad things went well.  I was thinking more about this and was thinking more and more that I wouldn't be comfortable with this situation...BUT, it's all in the person, isn't it?  I have seen 4 HB midwives (one team of two for birth #1, one for well-woman care, and one for birth #2). I haven't had one ask me about spirituality or faith.  But, again, I have known people who are super into their faith and lived it really "out there" and just really loved them and felt so at ease about how they expressed their faith. I think it's more a matter of them as individuals. 

 

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy! 


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Old 10-02-2013, 04:31 PM
 
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I understand what you're saying and I do think its a valid concern.

During my fourth pregnancy, my midwife (whom I had previously used), made some super offensive comments about the midwife-in-training she had trained during my last pregnancy. I'm a Christian and so was this midwife-in-training and my midwife knew this! I was so upset! I tried to brush it off but it really affected my trust in her care. I believe the rift in our relationship contributed to some complications during my labor. I should have either talked with her or found a different midwife.

Now, the previous times she had attended me during my pregnancy, we had a great relationship. But she had never, ever made any kind of derogatory anti-Christian comment before. So I guess I would say, if this midwife keeps it professional and has a genuine concern for YOU and your baby, you will probably feel cared for like you deserve. But if you don't feel comfortable for whatever reason and it's a feeling that continues throughout your pregnancy, don't ignore those concerns bc it could come back to bite you in labor. But definitely give her a chance.

Hope you get your + soon and have a lovely pregnancy!
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:57 PM
 
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I'm with Alenushka here on the professional boundaries. She has them or she doesn't, and you'll know soon either way.

Also, in the off-chance that you ever face the scenario that you describe, ie needing an abortion for a medical situation, you can seek a second opinion if you worry that her advice is biased. But honestly, by the time a high-risk situation like that arose, whether prenatally or during childbirth while needing a hospital transfer, you'd hopefully be under an OB's care anyway.

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Old 10-10-2013, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well ladies,  I finally got a positive test. :joy

 

I am only roughly 3 weeks along, but I am going to go ahead and make a consultation appointment with the midwife.  Hopefully I will be meeting with her in about a week or so.   Keep your fingers crossed for me! I will update afterward.


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Old 10-10-2013, 08:12 AM
 
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Congrats!!!

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Old 10-13-2013, 09:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Catwmandu View Post
 

And FWIW - the worry about it stemmed from an honest place. Midwives, different than OBs I've dealt with, work on emotional, spiritual and physical healing to promote a happy healthy birth. The time they spend with you is more impactful (like a friend who you want at your birth) and so therefore is a billion times more personal than many other professionals. Just like you wouldn't want a family member who is judging you or has conflicted feelings about you at your birth - you wouldn't want a midwife or OB there if there were similar worries. I think the mindset is different. Back before I knew how intimate the midwife model of care could be I wouldn't have cared one way or the other what a professional who treated me thought and felt as long as I didn't know about it and it didn't affect me in any way. Now I know all the different feelings and fears that can affect a good labor for some people and how key a great personal relationship can be to that success.

It's a very legitimate concern, homebirth or otherwise. I have a friend who chose homebirth because she felt she'd been treated badly at the (secular) local hospital because of her abortion history. Even though such things shouldn't matter, healthcare providers are just people.


DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
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