a lil sisterist revelation

December 10, 2008 § 3 Comments

when i started reading midwife: sage femme, hebamme, comadrona, partera blog i thought she was of color.  thinking probably latina.  and then hours of reading later…6 or 7 pages into the blog, i found out that she was white.  i had to read the sentence 4 or 5 times to be sure…i am still in half-denial, like i really want to claim her as a radical woc.  but then i thought, no, it is awesome that she is white…frankly there arent that many white chicks that ‘get it’.  and when i meet (or read) one who does it gives me hope for sisterhood.  it reifies that ‘whiteness’ is not an adequate excuse to not struggle to be conscious in this world.  or for white folks to throw up their hands like: oh, there is no point in trying…

you know, sometimes life has a way of handing me some beauty.

and now…some articles/blog posts i am digging about birth.

after the birth what a family needs: this is for a friend who is looking at becoming a post-partum doula.  i think that she would be wonderful at it.

word magic: i have questions of anti-circumcision as a movement.  questions about respect for cultures and religions.  but i love this bit in this post:

She was shunned for many years for daring to speak up for the unassisted birth pioneers.  She loved being a midwife but didn’t do it with any compromise of her values.  She was fond of the idea that midwives should attend only one birth per month…She often said that “Every mother is a midwife” and then proceeded to further alienate herself from most other midwives by asking the rhetorical question “Why would I pay someone to be paranoid for me?”…Every profession needs someone to shoot straight from the hip and bring the profession back to a state of humility.

living exposed: ‘anger is a higher state of consciousness than being fast asleep’.

Of course, a respected Catholic Nun and Certified Nurse Midwife like Sister Angela would never have been sued.  But, lo and behold, Sister Angela replied “Yes, honey, I have been sued and I want to say that if you’re a midwife and you haven’t been sued, well, line up and take a ticket because your turn is coming.”  She went on to say that she had received papers that she was being sued and she knew what to do . . . call the insurance company.  When she called the insurance co. there was a message saying “the number you have reached is not in service”.

midwife identity crisis:

I was told that one of my peers said, “I don’t know why Pamela charges so much when she does so little.”

it’s true.  I’ve stopped doing so many things that were part of my apprenticeship and the initial start of my own practice.  here are some examples:

traditional midwife:

I would imagine the New Modern Midwife to be someone who uses appropriate tools when desired by her client, holds the space so the woman can find her own empowerment (rather than the belief that a midwife can empower a client – only an empowered midwife will inspire an empowered woman!), and recognizes that each family has different needs from the next.

The New Modern Midwife would question routine beliefs – not only looking at evidence-based information, but what is inherently *right* for that particular woman.

race and birth issues: A woman of color once said to me, “Midwifery is a rich, white girl’s hobby”

birth spool interviews: pamela hines-powell:

Each family comes to homebirth with different paths and ideas – we need midwives that can suit the desires and needs of many different types of families! I’d love for there to be fewer issues around state regulations and more about community standards and peer review. While it may sound ok to say that every midwife MUST do such-and-such, talking to your peers about why your client chose NOT to do it may change the attitudes and atmosphere in the midwifery community in a positive way. There is a lot of backbiting amongst midwives about who is “safe” and who is not – and this usually revolves around being afraid of the laws, rather than supporting families.

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§ 3 Responses to a lil sisterist revelation

  • Gloria Lemay says:

    Thanks for linking to my site and for your comments. I kwym about “respect for cultures and religions” re the anti circ movement. That suppressed me for many years. I wouldn’t want someone else coming along and telling me what religious customs I could have. That has changed for me in this area of the genital cutting of children. I used to leave it to the Jewish midwives to speak out against it. Those like Jeannine Parvati Baker (her mother is Jewish), Barbara Harper, Nancy Wainer Cohen were our spokespeople against religious cutting of babies for many years. That all changed for me a few years ago. I now see that it is simply a human rights issue. Adults do not have the right to amputate body parts from non-consenting minors.

    It is the ultimate form of bullying to do something cruel to someone smaller who does not have a voice. The rate of genital mutilation of baby boys in the U.S. is dropping rapidly because more and more parents have access to accurate info via the internet. Anyone who watches a surgical amputation of the foreskin on Youtube would never allow it to be done to their own child.

    The truth about circumcision is that the more you know, the worse it gets.

    • maia says:

      dear gloria,
      i am really thinking about your argument. it is incredibly strong. that this is a basic human right that it is wrong to mutilate non-consenting minors…give me a couple of day. i will write about it soon…

  • […] and she convinced me to re-think my stance on circumcision.  she showed me that it was a human rights issue in one sentence.   she said: Adults do not have the right to amputate body parts from non-consenting minors. […]

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