Well Rounded Birth Prep

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Midwifery = witchcraft???

One of my midwife friends, Laura Matthews, shared an experience with me recently that left me aghast. She gave me permission to post her story here.

Let me set up the backstory. Laura is a CNM with 12 years of clinical experience. She has supported births in both hospital and in birth center settings. She got her undergraduate degree at Bates College, her nursing degree at Fairview Hospital School of Nursing, and her Master of Science in Nursing/Midwifery at Case Western Reserve University. She has nearly completed her Masters in Biotechnology at West Virginia State University. She is researching her options to see which medical school will be the best fit for her as she pursues her goal of becoming an obstetrician. I'm thrilled that such a capable, qualified, holistic-minded midwife will serve in that capacity, and I'm really hoping she'll stay in our geographic area after she graduates from medical school. What an asset and a resource she is, and will be.

All this to say, Laura is a very educated midwife who has worked extensively to help and support mothers "within the system."

Laura was speaking with a recruiter of a prestigious medical school, who was set up at a table in the front hall of the science building to recruit medical school students and talk to them about the school and the admissions process. There were numerous current and potential medical students around the table. The recruiter introduced Laura to the group of students as, I kid you not, "Laura Matthews, who has 12 years of clinical experience as a witch." A worse Freudian slip has never been spoken. The crowd fell silent. Many of them turned bright red in embarrassment for the recruiter who so horrifically misspoke. Some of the students even tried to rescue the recruiter with jokes. The recruiter then stammered and tried to backpedal and salvage his introduction with a series of, "What I mean is..."

I realize that he didn't intend to call Laura a witch, nor did he deliberately attempt to publicly call midwifery "witchcraft," but that's the deep-seated-truth-telling essence of Freudian slips. Unless he had just concluded a prior, unrelated conversation with someone else about a witch costume for an upcoming Halloween party, it's my opinion that he must have accidentally revealed his true bias against midwifery and its legitimacy as a profession.

Midwives were the targets of persecution and literal witch hunts for several hundred years. Apparently, some modern-day medical school recruiters are *still* under the misimpression that midwifery = witchcraft. How sad.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I couldn't help but laugh.. but how awful. :( I have the utmost respect for midwives and would trust them over an impersonal doctor any day.


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