Would you feel comfortable with a male midwife? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just perusing the websites of some local midwifery practices, and noticed that one has a male CNM. It says he's been practicing for nine years and loves to attend water births.

Would you feel comfortable with a male MW? I have so say, my gut reaction is no. But maybe I'm missing something.
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#2 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 02:29 PM
 
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I totally would!!!

To be honest, when I went to an OB/gyn I went to a male and prefered to go to him over his female partners.

During my last preg, had a midwife and never really thought about it because there were no options for a male midwife.

I think that is awesome though!!!

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#3 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 02:30 PM
 
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You're just coming up with all the questions today, aren't you?! :LOL

I would choose a midwife I was comfortable with and would assume that gender wouldn't matter, but that comfort is more about who they are and how we "click" and understand one another. That said, I think that I would have trouble feeling comfortable with a male midwife. I've only ever gone to female midwives for gyno and natal care. I did see a male OB as a backup a couple of times and that didn't bother me, but I didn't want him at my birth, that's for sure. After all, as the saying goes, would you go to a mechanic who had never owned a car?

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#4 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 02:33 PM
 
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As a nurse, I have met some awesome male nurses, many more compassionate than some female nurses I know. Women see male doctors without a second thought, I can't see why not a male CNM, especially if he was an awesome women empowering MW.

That said, personally, I do not see male doctors for anything female related because of past abuse issues, so I would not choose a CNM that was male for that reason only.
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#5 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 02:39 PM
 
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I would not like to have a male midwife. I like having women around me during labor, especially when I know they have given birth themselves. When another woman is encouraging you that "you can do it" it is on a totally different level if you know SHE has done this too. I know that a person doesn't really need to have given birth to effectively help a woman in labor, this is just my oppinon and my own comfort zone. If a woman has no problem with the male part, I'd say most midwives are a better choice than most mds, and a support person who will respect your choices is the most important thing.

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#6 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 02:40 PM
 
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I see a group of midwives for my pregnancy and one midwife is a male who's been practicing for 20 years. I was really skeptical about him until I met him, but he seems really into the midwife philosophy. I'm not afraid of him like I was. With that said, I'd rather have a female midwife on call when I have my baby.
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#7 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 03:25 PM
 
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No. When it comes to female issues, I prefer to have a female doctor.
But more power to male midwives though!

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#8 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 03:43 PM
 
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Ugh--I hate saying my answer because I think it is not consistent with some of my strongly-held beliefs about gender! I tend to think of gender as largely a cultural construction that constrains and causes suffering for many people. So in the abstract I want to be open to having a male midwife.

That said, I think of birth as ultimately more of a women's thing. I like the idea of women helping women during birthing. Sounds awfully essentialist for someone who thinks gender is a construction, doesn't it! I wouldn't choose just any woman over a man who was a really good fit with my birth choices/philosophy though. We see a family practice doc who is a man and drive way across town to see him because he works in a very collaborative, respectful way and we think it's worth the extra effort to have him as our doctor.

It could be my opinion of male midwives is colored by an experience I had not too long ago. We met a guy at a New Year's Eve party this year who is a nurse practitioner who wants to be a midwife. But he doesn't want to attend births, he just wants to work in a practice with OBs and provide prenatal care, because he thinks this would be very rewarding/fulfilling work. He was nice and SNAGy and all that, but imo he did not get what midwifery is all about.
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#9 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My BIL is a nurse, and a great one at that. He is very kind, compassionate, humorous, and smart. I do think that some men are cut out to be caregivers. I've never seen a male OB, either, so I guess I do have a strong preference toward female caregivers. My family practitioner is a woman as well. For me, I think I would have issue with being inhibited around another man, even if he was an experienced one. I think back to my last birth, with me sitting naked in the water, moaning to beat the band, and I just can't picture feeling comfortable doing that with another man there.

Maybe I have some issues. :LOL
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#10 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 03:57 PM
 
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There are several male midwives here. As long as we clicked, I'd have no problem with it. I understand the whole thing with anatomy and all, but to be honest there are many midwives here who have never given birth either, would that bother those of you that said they wouldn't have a male midwife? I think it's most important to find someone who works with you and shares the same philosophy as you regarding birth.


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#11 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 04:00 PM
 
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I would have no problem with a male midwife. Sadly though I don't think I'd consider a CNM of any gender. IME they are just too medical.

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#12 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 04:07 PM
 
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I just don't "jive" (for lack of a better word today!) well w/ men in authority, like teachers, docs, etc. It's like we just don't communicate on the same wavelength. I feel this way about my dh *all* the time! Anyway, I would say that he wouldn't be my first choice, but if I interviewed 3 and I somehow connected the best w/ him, I would have no problem going w/ him. It's all about that connection, being able to be open and honest w/ someone. I don't know if I got the "warm fuzzies" from my MW the first time I met w/ her, but I knew she was who I wanted and I love her to death now! I was just hyper-sensitive about everything that day. Big shocker, right?!
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#13 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 04:22 PM
 
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No, I would not.

This is not to say that men cannot be excellent caregivers. I just think the sacred mystery of birth should be tended to by females.

All 5 of my kids have been (will be) delivered by women who have delivered themselves.
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#14 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 04:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santana
No, I would not.

This is not to say that men cannot be excellent caregivers. I just think the sacred mystery of birth should be tended to by females.

All 5 of my kids have been (will be) delivered by women who have delivered themselves.
santana,

Totallly agree with you on this, also goes for a female phyiscal doctor for me.

My kid/s will be deliver by a woman hopefully and will have delivered themselves as well.

Thank you.
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#15 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 04:46 PM
 
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I would go to a male midwife. I had a male OB and it didn't bother me that he was male. It bothered me that his birth philosophy was very medicallized. I will not be going back to him again for a birth, but it's not because of his gender. Because the OB on call during the time of our dd's birth was a woman the only male there was my dh, but I didn't really matter because she was very medical-minded too. I don't really care what's between the legs of my care provider, what matters is what's between their ears.

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#16 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 04:58 PM
 
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A male OB/GYN is like a mechanic that has never owned a car.

I prefer women because when I labour and birth I connect with my feminine energy VERY strongly and I really don't feel comfortalbe being vulnerable in front of men (besides dh).

Just my opinion.
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#17 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 05:01 PM
 
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I agree that gender is a cultural construct to a large degree . . . but the thing is, we live in that culture. And are also constructed by it. So no matter what I think intellectually about gender equality, how I feel about getting "loose" enough to labor & birth effectively with a man who isn't my life partner in the room is highly biased - as in, not happening.

I *might* invite my brothers to a labor and possibly even a birth if they were local. But NOT my dad, brothers- or father-in-law, partners of female friends, etc. And not a male midwife or doctor or nurse unless a true medical emergency made intervention necessary.

This is not to say I think men shouldn't BE midwifes (or otherwise work in the women's health field.) For one thing, I have no problem getting well-woman care from a man. I also have no problem understanding that some men are compassionate, and sensitive, and some women would be much more comfortable with a strange man around than I would be. I know women who have life-long male best friends and can easily imagine they might have different feelings than me (I've never had a long-lasting non-sexual friendship with a man I wasn't related to.)

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#18 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 05:09 PM
 
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Yes, I would. I know the midwife you are talking about and he is excellent! I think he's been a midwife for a lot longer than 9 years, as the website hasn't been updated in a VERY long time. I've attended a birth as a doula and he was the midwife who caught the baby. He is pretty hands off and is very gentle and kind. You should meet him before you judge him.

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#19 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 05:27 PM
 
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If I felt a connection, I would not have an issue. One of my favorite sites: http://www.partera.org/
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#20 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 08:03 PM
 
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I think male midwives are awesome. However, I don't think I could have one. I have mental blocks because I was raped many times and unless I could carefully screen the guy so nothing about him reminded me of the "man" that raped me, then I couldn't do it. At least not without therapy

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#21 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 08:57 PM
 
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Not for me. I would rather someone with a frame of reference to labor & birth. The same as I am happier with a pediatrician with kids.

That being said I am very glad to hear male midwives do exist.
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#22 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 09:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldsapmom
If I felt a connection, I would not have an issue. One of my favorite sites: http://www.partera.org/
I find that website a little creepy. Almost every photo he's doing fundal pressure, and his one gloved hand is poised above her vagina like Vanna White showing the audience a new car as he mugs for the camera. Quite often his other hand is the hand that's taking the photos. The mamas are almost always in lithotomy, and the camera is pointing directly in their crotch. Most of the crotch shots are just gratuitous. It's just weird to me.

But to answer the question, no, I would not want a male midwife. i recognize that they can be caring and sensitive and say all the right things, but no. I couldn't even care less if dh was in the room. I like female energy at birth.
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#23 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 10:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sevenkids
I find that website a little creepy. Almost every photo he's doing fundal pressure, and his one gloved hand is poised above her vagina like Vanna White showing the audience a new car as he mugs for the camera. Quite often his other hand is the hand that's taking the photos. The mamas are almost always in lithotomy, and the camera is pointing directly in their crotch. Most of the crotch shots are just gratuitous. It's just weird to me.

But to answer the question, no, I would not want a male midwife. i recognize that they can be caring and sensitive and say all the right things, but no. I couldn't even care less if dh was in the room. I like female energy at birth.
seven kids,

Totally agree with you on this. Personally, think hes scamming women. Thank you.
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#24 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 10:47 PM
 
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No
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#25 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 11:19 PM
 
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I doubt it would bother me. Through my three "births", I've had five different caregivers...three men (one FP & two OBs) and two women (my FP & her sub). One of the OB's, who was on-call when I arrived with my first and had an emergency section, was a bit of a creep...think he went into the field so he could play golf, drive a sports car and get cheap thrills. But, aside from him, I've been much more comfortable with the two men than the two women.

I haven't actually given birth, so I can't comment on the female energy thing. But, there's a woman I know who loves being at the births of her friends/relatives. And, there is nothing on this earth that could cause me to willingly give birth with her in the room. She, and a lot of other women I've met, turn birth into this huge competition....it's all about who pushed hardest, who put up with the most pain, who pushed out the biggest baby, who had the longest labour and on and on and on and on. What little I've seen of women's attitudes toward birth (in real life, not here on these forums) leaves me feeling that I'd never want to be attended by a woman, and especially not one who'd had kids. I just don't like the vibe.

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#26 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 11:21 PM
 
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Oh - also wanted to add that a male midwife would really interest me. For a man to take that route, instead of going the OB/GYN trail, suggests a serious belief in women's bodies and what they're capable of. A man would have to buck a lot of social/peer pressure to persist with midwifery. (I must say that "midwife" sounds like an odd title for a man, though.)

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#27 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 11:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noelia430
Yes, I would. I know the midwife you are talking about and he is excellent! I think he's been a midwife for a lot longer than 9 years, as the website hasn't been updated in a VERY long time. I've attended a birth as a doula and he was the midwife who caught the baby. He is pretty hands off and is very gentle and kind. You should meet him before you judge him.
I have no doubts that he is good at what he does... I do not judge him at all. In fact, I admire him for becoming a midwife and not an OB. I'm just wanting to discuss our own personal comfort levels.
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#28 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldsapmom
If I felt a connection, I would not have an issue. One of my favorite sites: http://www.partera.org/
This site totally creeps me out too. He has one link that says something like "a very young girl". There are SO many gratuitous crotch shots on his site... I just don't get it. It almost seems exploitive of the population he works with... most of them do not have computer access and would never know their pictures and names are all over the internet for all to see.
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#29 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 11:28 PM
 
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I would actually feel more comfortable, I think, with a male midwife than I would with a female. I can't even say why I feel this way, I don't know.

That said, my ds (who is only 6 so who knows, lol) has mentioned on several occassions that he'd like to become a midwife, except that he doesn't like the name midwife for a boy. With his personality, even at just 6, I think that he would make an outstanding midwife.

I also think that a man who goes into the field must be very dedicated for so many reasons. I mean, it would be very easy to go the OBGYN route and make more money. Plus, as this thread shows, it would be a much easier road client wise. I can't imagine how tough it must be for a male midwife to get started! For that man to have lasted 9 years, he must be an amazing man.
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#30 of 67 Old 08-04-2005, 11:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by reader
This site totally creeps me out too. He has one link that says something like "a very young girl". There are SO many gratuitous crotch shots on his site... I just don't get it. It almost seems exploitive of the population he works with... most of them do not have computer access and would never know their pictures and names are all over the internet for all to see.
:
Not almost exploitative, it's very exploitative. I don't know any midwife IRL that has such graphic birth pictures posted on her site, with names, ages, parities, etc.
He seems very possessive of them, the way he stands with his arm around them. Something about an older man standing over a young woman's crotch, pointing at it and smiling for the camera gives me the heebie jeebies. I'm not convinced his motives are pure, although I do realize he's the best option they got (which is really scary).

I tend to have doubts about any man who chooses women's health care as a career. Why the fascination? I think it's a great way for perv's to sublimate their weird fetishes into something socially acceptable. It's also much cheaper than med school and takes far less time.
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