Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Inspiration to be a Nurse Midwife

Posted by Laurel

If men flee the female, we will survive, but if women themselves treat femaleness as a disease we are lost indeed. ~Germaine Greer

10 thoughts on why I am inspired to be a nurse midwife...
1. Women are not socialized to celebrate their bodies, let alone live in them and own their power... I want to help bring in generations of beings that celebrate women and the female body. I love my body!
2. No matter where a woman is at in her life cycle, I believe that she deserves the option and opportunity for midwifery are. Whether a woman wants to have children, is pregnant, is pregnant and does not want to be, is unable to have children for one reason or another or choses not to... they can benefit from a midwifery philosophy of care. No matter age, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, SES, marital status, class, motherhood status, education, nationality, able-bodiedment - the option of midwifery care should be available.

3. Women are the gatekeepers of healthcare; if we can empower women and enhance their self-efficacy, I believe that there will be a ripple effect throughout society. Midwifery care is not just high-quality care for women; it is excellent for children, partners, families, society, and communities.
4. Our general culture frames, stereotypes, and exploits women's bodies in a manner that promotes shame and reinforces an external locus of control; the culture of medicine often times does the same. Both language and media perpetuate the shame that is associated with the body and try to sell us ways to clean it up, fix it, or cover it up (I also believe that this is applicable to the male body as well, in different dimensions and realms.) These negative connotations, embraced by both men and women, limit our capacity for understanding sensitive topics involving the body, as well as render us more vulnerable to profit by corporate America.
5.  Women’s bodies are idealized and constructed with/through pervasive cultural norms that control, shape, and marginalize the functions of the female body.   The female body offers many opportunities that are transitions throughout life that need to be celebrated and honored not cleaned up, controlled, or ‘fixed’. 
6. Three equations that make me think:
             Language +gender assumptions+ science= one big rhetoric mess ( From our common day language, to text books, to media, to classrooms and beyond…)

            Scientific view of male body as the norm + female body as ‘different’ + a powerful medical culture = increasing vulnerability of the female body and the normalization of female body processes as being ‘ problems’  (not to mention the perpetuation of gender-bias science and experimentation on the female body resulting in greater disparities between women)

Media power+ ideal that the ‘civilized’/beautiful female body is slim, tall, young, cellulite free, athletic, sexy, tan= perpetuated thoughts and actions that literally and figuratively have us buy into the system as we strive to embody unrealistic and unattainable bodies (Next time you see a shop mannequin, remember that if they were real women they would be too thin to menstruate!)
7. I feel like women should be encouraged to listen to their bodies and give birth in the environment, position, and in the company of whom they feel most comfortable with.  We need to be accountable for our health, our bodies, and our births!

8.  I have seen how powerful women can be in labor and wish to honor, respect, and foster that power/empowerment coming from an internal locus of control.  Doctors and midwives don’t deliver babies- women do!
9.  Birth is not an industrial process; it is a natural process. We need to work to resist the domination and exploitation of ‘nature’ in our communities and societies, which directly relates to the subjection and objectification of women’s bodies.  
10. Personal reasons include: I feel like my heart and head are aligned when I do this work.  I want to have a homebirth someday!

So these are thoughts….now we need to start talking!

1 comment:

  1. I think of the things you listed, it is the last that strikes me as the most direct reason to be a midwife. The others seemed to me like they could be on a list of reasons to do all manner of woman-affirming work in the world. It sure is clear that you're a womanhood loving woman. Thank you for contributing!