crazy kids r us

December 19, 2009 § 1 Comment

what is the midwives alliance of north america (mana)?

from the about page of the website:

As a leader in midwifery, MANA has been at the forefront of developing midwifery credentialing and educational organizations. In particular, the North American Registry of Midwives oversees a competency-based certification process for midwives, granting the title of Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) to those passing rigorous written examinations and testing of clinical experience and skills.

its kind of funny that the grand dame of modern midwifery, ina may gaskin.  the author of spiritual midwifery. the co-founder and past president of mana (midwives alliance of north america).  started out in the 60s as a midwife with no training whatsoever.  those crazy kids!

How did you become a midwife?
ina may gaskin: My first birth took place in 1966, and I was very surprised to find out that as a first-time mother, my obstetrician was unwilling to allow my baby to be born without medication. This was because he intended to use forceps (whether they were truly necessary or not), because most US obstetricians then believed that this was safer for mother and baby than allowing the normal birth process to take place. This idea was obviously revised a few years later, but I had no choice in the matter for this particular birth. Because I was a graduate student in English literature, I was aware that many women and babies had been injured during forceps deliveries. Besides, I was sure that women’s bodies could function better than my obstetrician had been taught they could. That whole experience really opened my eyes to how little scientific evidence underlay the obstetrical beliefs and procedures that were commonly used.

Around that time, I heard a few women tell their home birth stories. Invariably, these were empowering stories. I was awed by these women who found ways to give birth at home — most of them pressured a friend, who happened to be a labor and delivery nurse, to sit with them during labor. After hearing a couple of women’s stories, I knew that I wanted a home birth myself and that if there were any way for me to become a midwife, I would like to be one.

It wasn’t long before I had a chance to observe my first birth. The woman refused to go to a hospital and wanted me to stay with her. Her husband was prepared to catch the baby. I was lucky enough to see what seemed to me to be a short, relatively easy labor that ended with a perfectly healthy baby. There was no time to be worried during labor because it went so quickly.

There were several other women who were aware of this birth, and when it was finished, it seemed that they were ready to regard me as a midwife. So, one by one, these women gave birth, and after the birth of the third baby, I was offered a seminar in emergency childbirth by a generous obstetrician. That seminar prepared me for the birth of the fourth baby, who needed resuscitation at birth and his mother, whose bleeding had to be stopped just after birth.

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