Hey birthy-people –
Brrrrr – its chilly, and I don’t mean the nights as the weather grows cooler. The national midwifery vibe is chilly as more and more situations of preceptor abuse and discrimination of midwives of color are brought to light.
Unity is what we preach; but rarely what we practice. As the polarization of factions within the midwifery community grows wider – we have an even bigger job ahead of us – bridging the gap in our words and actions.
Our struggle in midwifery is not unique, in fact, it’s just a microcosm of the challenges we face as a nation politically- albeit with less violence. My friend and community elder, Asha, an ally to the disenfranchised and a friend to midwives, an entrepreneur and philanthropist – owner of Pacific Domes, recently lost her son to racial and religious violence in Portland, Oregon. In witnessing her grief, I am reminded of our shared grief at the shocking injustice in our world. She has been a model on how to love in the face of devastating violence and loss. Her grace and her son’s brave actions have inspired me to persevere in finding the illuminated path through to a peaceful place in myself, in my community and in the world.
As a community Midwives have been victim to ‘moral exclusion’. We modern midwives exist with the genetic and soul wounds of generational abuse, marginalization, and delegitimization by our obstetric sisters and brothers and the medical establishment in general. We all have been and/or are currently being excluded from our sovereign rights to be part of the fundamental solution to women’s health care. With so much subtle and not so subtle violence directed at women and midwives (both now and in the recent and distant past), it’s no wonder we fight with tooth and nail to establish our ‘place’ within our society. The challenge, of course, is that some of us have forgotten what we’re fighting and speaking for.
“Opting out of speaking out because we may get criticized is the definition of privilege” – Brene Brown
Let us all denounce our privilege and speak out for what is right both in our nation and in our profession. Inclusion and tolerance are needed in all areas of our life. Two of my mentors recently had a conversation about this very topic – Marie Forleo interviewed and discussed the profound content of the new book, “Braving the Wilderness” with Brene Brown. So much of this book and video can be applied to midwifery:
Love & light,
Augustine + team