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Unity Among All Midwives: Wednesday at the Annual Meeting

As I listened to the debate over the ACNM name change at today’s Closing Business Meeting, my optimism grows for the future of midwives. I am a brand new CNM; graduated in May and passed the boards less than a few weeks ago. I decided to become a CNM even though CPMs caught 2 of my 3 daughters in my home because I live in Illinois, a state that only recognizes CNMs.“If someone needs to go to jail to prove a point about home birth,” I thought, “I’m not your girl.”

Women in areas like mine across our country, where there are either no midwives or so few that they have to set limits for how many patients they can accept, are often at a loss for options. My oldest daughter was born in Washington state, where Medicaid paid our CPM. My middle daughter’s birth was paid for in cash, under the table. When we faced an emergency, my CPM could not legally access emergency services to help us.

Two different states protected my life and my baby’s safety differently.So over the past 6 years in Illinois I have lobbied our state representatives, hosted film screenings about midwifery and reproductive justice issues at my local library, and organized letter-writing campaigns in support of gaining legal recognition for these currently non-licensed out-of-hospital midwives. I became a CNM with a vision of providing maternity care to women in my region and building on our existing network. However, my training and clinical experience prepared me to work within our hospital system, whereasother midwives learn exclusively outside this system. Our skills complement each other.

So imagine my excitement to learn about the US MERA agreement, that ACNM supports all midwives by establishing standards of care for all midwives and supporting their efforts seeking legal recognition. Knowing that ACNM, my professional organization, signed on with the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education, American Midwifery Certification Board, Midwifery Education Accreditation Council, Midwives Alliance of North America, National Association of Certified Professional Midwives, and North American Registry of Midwives, shows me that ACNM understands what I have known all along: that we are stronger when we work together.This action on ACNM’s part shows that we believe bringing all midwives up will improve birth for all women.

We do not stand to lose anything by standing with these midwives. In fact, we all gain when we collaborate: we can share both CNMs experience working within the hospital system and other midwives’ experiences outside the hospital system. And women, babies, and familiesacross our country gain. Listening at the Closing Business Meeting, learning that ACNM’s membership desires to keep the ACNM Bylaws open for change, and leaving the organization’s ears open for discussion makes me proud to say this is my professional organization.

By Yvonne Oldaker, CNM

Posted By Barbra Elenbaas | 7/2/2015 5:02:47 PM



Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. ACNM is not responsible for accuracy of any of the information provided by guest bloggers and/or members via the Comments section. We welcome all feedback – including comments, ideas and suggestions. We also welcome civil, friendly debates. However, any and all content that is deemed inflammatory or rude will not be posted.


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