Saturday, March 08, 2008

A simple question

The issues raised by Kneelingwoman and Navelgazing Midwife regarding midwifery education continue to generate heated responses. The source of the controversy seems to be the suggestion that to provide safe care for a wide range of women, midwives need more education, more training and more experience than what is provided by any MEAC accredited program for direct entry midwives.

The hostility was probably best expressed by Ida Darragh, an official of NARM, who has posted in the past on this blog. Writing to Navelgazing Midwife, she said:
As you may have gathered, links to your blog have been circulating among the midwifery community recently and provoking a lot of anger at your attitude toward the CPM credential...

If you feel the skills of the CPM should be expanded, or the requirements lengthened, you will be able to make those comments on the 2008 NARM Job Analysis, which should be available on the web this spring. That would be a more effective method of change than blog-posting.

I’d just like for you to be aware that the negative things you are saying about the CPM are not only exaggerated, but they are also harmful to the many midwives who are trying to keep home birth options open for women in other states...
An official from NARM responds to the gentle criticism of NARM requirements with a list of reasons why no midwife should ever criticize NARM: you will make other CPMs angry; you should communicate with NARM privately and not raise questions in public; questioning NARM hurts the cause of homebirth midwifery. The response is notable in that it never attempts to address the basic issue of whether CPMs have enough education and training.

It all comes down to this simple question:

Is there any justification for a second class of midwife who has less education, training and experience than any other midwife in the industrialized world?

CPM defenders like Darragh don't want to address this simple question. They really can't address this simple question, since there is no justification for a tiny group of women deciding that they are entitled to call themselves midwives without having to learn as much, see as much, and do as much as fully trained midwives. This isn't just a matter of unwillingness to do the work (although that is definitely part of it). It also reflects the unstated fear that knowledge and experience erode confidence in the fundamental premise of homebirth midwifery. When homebirth midwives seek out more education and training, they obviously believe that merely "trusting" birth is not enough.

0 Old Comments: