By Ginger Breedlove,
CNM, PhD, APRN, FACNM, ACNM President
It’s the first week of October, a special time each year
when we celebrate midwifery! National Midwifery Week
provides an opportunity for each of us to reach out to someone uncertain or
confused about our scope of practice, the types of midwives, or the safety of
midwifery care in a variety of settings.
I challenge everyone to engage in at least one conversation this
week about the emerging role of midwifery in the United States – in addition to
your regularly scheduled celebrations, of course!
How can this be done? By communicating the “why” of
midwifery! Why would a young woman needing contraception, a family seeking a
maternity care provider, or an aging woman needing guidance with perimenopausal
symptoms choose a midwife? According to renowned author Simon Sinek, sharing
our “why” (what we want individuals to hear, our purpose, our cause, or what inspires
us in our role) is critical. The “why” of what we do is the key that inspires
others to listen and then act. Who would you share midwifery with that, until
now, has not been on your radar? Whom have you been hesitant to speak with? Watch
this TED talk and get inspired to share your “why.”
Here is one very important development to consider: this
past July, ACOG’s board of directors unanimously amended and reaffirmed a College
Policy on Midwifery Education and Certification to recognize and accept the
International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Global Standards as the common
worldwide education, licensure, regulatory, and practice standards for
midwifery, as well as express support for ACNM’s endorsement of the ICM
standards. And in September, Jesse Bushman, ACNM Director of Advocacy and
Government Affairs, and I were invited to speak with all ACOG state legislative
chairs and their lobbyists at the annual legislative roundtable. ACOG members
are increasing their knowledge and readiness to talk about midwifery and
collaboration in care.
Now is the time to meet with midwives and OBGYN leaders in your
community and across your state to discuss ICM global education standards as
baseline for midwifery practice. Begin a conversation at your affiliate meeting
about what this means, design a strategic priority addressing the ICM standards,
or promote marketing for consumers to better understand the variety of
midwifery models of care. Invite the state legislative ACOG chair or a CPM
leader to breakfast.
If our common goal is to ensure safe, satisfying, quality
care for all childbearing families regardless of place of birth, we must begin to talk with those who have, until
now, not been part of our conversation. The most important experience in forming
new relationships is establishing trust, transparency, and a willingness to listen
to each other’s “why.” As understanding builds, an investment to work together
may begin to emerge. You will not know unless someone makes the first contact. Let
ACNM staff or your regional representative help if you need support to undertake this national priority.
I am keenly aware of the range of issues currently affecting
ACNM members – from students feeling overwhelmed with the future to struggles
to retain a midwifery practice and good salary; from work/life imbalance and
exhaustion to challenges with scope of practice regulations, autonomy, and
billing inequity to entering retirement with uncertainty of what is next .
However, by speaking up and sharing your “why” with willing listeners, you may
discover unanticipated opportunities.
Perhaps you will be encouraged by a quote from Jennifer
Worth’s Call the Midwife: A Memoir of
Birth, Joy, and Hard Times: “Why aren’t midwives the heroines of
society that they should be? Why do they have such a low profile? They ought to
be lauded to the skies, by everyone.”
Let’s work together this week to take
one more step toward making her statement a global reality! Happy National