Shannon Mitchell recently created a blog post titled In Defense of Midwifery. I read this with my jaw dropped. This, it just, it needs it's own post.
I want to address a few things here:
Shannon, you bring up knowing stories of midwives who have been arrested, investigated, have a "bad outcome" that makes the state take notice or parents being upset over the outcome. You nonchalantly say "It happens, it's inevitable, all midwives face it at some point". What you call a bad outcome is an incredibly dehumanizing term. Let's call it what it is- a DEATH or DISABILITY. Most of the time, at home, these outcomes ARE avoidable. If you have all of these midwives being arrested or investigated, there's a reason. It's not persecution of poor little midwives. It's someone caring about the "bad outcomes" the community cares to not address. If the community had a choice, our babies deaths/injuries would be swept under the rug and never addressed.
Shannon, you say this goes beyond various denialist mindsets such as, "it could never happen to me", "there must be more to the story", and "what was really going on". Actually, no, this does NOT go beyond denialist mindsets. If a midwife is educated and trained and knows not to take risks, it very well may never happen to her. Most of the time, there IS more to the story. Looking at the role your midwife buddy may of played in a death or disability is necessary. It's important to question, esp in the midwifery community.
Shannon, you are worried that if Rowan Bailey is charged that a precedent may be set and other midwives could be found guilty of murder. The issue here is that Rowan screwed up. The law states that murder is the unlawful killing of a human by another human with malicious aforethought. One of the definitions of malice is "Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life". So, yes, she has committed murder. Let's be honest, most homebirth deaths are due to a reckless indifference to human life. A precedent needs set to protect mothers and babies. If the community won't handle this, then the law needs to.
Shannon, you say that one day it will be a fellow midwife looking into a grieving mother's eyes helping her comprehend her loss saying you hope there isn't a DA behind her calling that midwife a murderer. As that grieving mother whose midwife attempted to manipulate her multiple times, I'm of the opinion that midwives have absolutely no business trying to help us comprehend our losses. Midwives have shown us that they are all about themselves as this blog posts blatantly expresses. If there is a DA behind the parents, then yes, that midwife messed up. The DA doesn't get involved if a death is from congenital anomalies! If this death was preventable, oh yeah, they need to be involved!
Shannon, you tell fellow midwives to get off their asses, pull their heads out of the sand, and realize ramifications of this stuff on midwives. Here is where I will agree with you. Yes, the community needs to get off it's lazy ass and start really looking at their fellow midwives actions and see how their "sisters" are harming them. You are sticking up for a murderer and encouraging others to stick up for them as well. You are completely minimizing the actions of these midwives. You are telling every single grieving mother that her baby is unimportant, that only the midwife she had matters.
Lastly, Shannon, you tell fellow midwives to imagine having to tell someone they love and respect that they are being charged with murder in the death of a baby. How about you having to call your friends and family and tell them that your baby is dead? Or how about having to tell people that your decision is why your baby is dead. I have had to look people in the eye and admit that my choice to have a homebirth with a CPM is why my daughter isn't here. I have to look at that person in the mirror every day. I would of never of made the same decisions if I knew the outcome would be this.
Lucky for Shannon, a CPM by the name of Jessica Weed ran to her rescue in the comments about how midwives need to stand in solidarity. Why?? Jessica herself managed to get herself arrested for child abuse because she chose to take on a breech delivery where the baby ended up with bleeding on the brain and behind the retinas on top of mom ending up with an infection due to retained placenta. Wood also asked parents not to disclose her involvement in the delivery. I certainly don't question why someone like Weed would promote the solidarity ideals!
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