Today, I’m soap-boxing about midwifery topics, and I’d love for you guys to consider these two images.
Two healthy mamas, each with two healthy babies. No big deal really, except that in both of these cases, one of the babies belonging to each mother was a complete surprise at birth – an unexpected twin.
One set of twins was born at home, with a midwife. The mother of these twins chose to decline ultrasounds, and measured consistently with what she thought were correct dates.
One set of twins was born in a hospital, under obstetric care. This mother elected to have all offered scans, which failed to detect a second baby. She also measured consistently with her dates.
Both pregnancies resulted in the birth of a completely unexpected second baby.
Guess which caregiver was investigated, had her office raided, and had her registration to practice suspended, without even so much as a phone interview with the mother involved? (I’ll give you a hint – it wasn’t an obstetrician).
If you ever wanted to get a feel for the chilly climate surrounding Independent Midwifery right now, here’s your evidence.
Two scenarios, with the exact same outcome (after which the midwife in the homebirth setting transferred the babies and mother to a hospital setting for assessment, as any responsible practitioner would do).
Two competent practitioners, caught by surprise, who cared for two mothers to birth their babies safely as best they could.
Yet only one practitioner was scrutinised, suspended and REMAINS suspended three months after the event. I read today that the midwife involved has now elected to surrender her registration entirely, after being left in limbo for so long – with her business severely compromised, and her personal reputation in tatters.
Same care, same “mistake”, completely different set of consequences.
The political climate for midwives outside of the hospital setting right now is nothing short of toxic…
If you’ve ever wondered why we rally, and why we petition, and why we get so passionate about the midwifery role, this situation might give you a glimpse into the challenges faced by midwives out there, working in the community.
Vexatious (usually unsubstantiated) reporting, being forced to work under supervision, being asked to jump through hoops, time and time again to prove their worth, and ticking more boxes than hospital midwives ever need to consider – all to provide the specific, patient-centred care that their women request.
I used to dream of working independently. Now, the thought of even trying feels like some kind of a nightmare.
The aim of the game is, and always has been, healthy mothers and healthy babies.
Yet, all around, there’s a battle waging, and it’s getting uglier by the day.
We can all do better. We NEED to do better. This shit just isn’t right.