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The State of Midwifery (Part 2): How to Bolster the Force


Hello hello! We’re continuing the State of the Midwifery series today and although this is a long, inspirational post, it’s definitely worth the time to read and share.

As we chatted last week, it’s important to know statistics about the midwifery force and the barriers ahead for the profession (see the first post on the State of Midwifery from last week).

But, what about the midwives on the front line every day? Or, the midwife student that wants more than anything to be a midwife, but is at a standstill in training because of a global pandemic?

To each midwife and student midwife, this post is for you.

It was a hell of a year.

In a time where division and differences are at the forefront of everyone’s mind, we must come together.

More than ever, we must stand together.

This year, I looked at the ways that we each could lift up each other and midwifery from exactly where we are.

You could be a midwife on maternity leave trying to navigate the new lessons of parenting. You could be a midwifery student waiting to start midwifery school. You could be retired, but recently started to look at ways you could support the profession with your wisdom and experience.

Wherever you are, you can help bolster the midwifery force by:

Let’s dive in!


Lift up your fellow midwives – locally and nationwide.

At the end of the hardest day and the hardest roads, we have each other. Choose to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Choose to pump your fists in the air when your midwives in another state break through practice barriers. Choose positivity and encouragement at every turn. Choose to recommend platforms, insta accounts, courses and resources that bolster midwives and the midwifery profession. Choose to lift up your fellow midwives.

Let’s start with some midwives that are doing some amazing things. Take a moment to honor what they are doing. Support these midwives in their endeavors, recommend their platforms, and follow their steps towards bright futures!

And across the nation, there are some states doing some amazing things.

Shoot them a “keep it up!” message or email. Follow their initiatives, websites, facebook, twitter or instagram accounts. Use other states as mentors and seek advice about starting initiatives in your own state. Send emails or letters to your state representatives and their state representatives about midwives and midwifery initiatives.

Even if you aren’t an ACNM/MANA member, or you are a student, it’s important to keep up with midwifery issues in you state! (Also, if you have an instagram/facebook account or a website for a state that isn’t listed, please email me and I’ll happily add it to the list: amidwifenation@gmail.com).

ALABAMA

ALASKA

ARIZONA

ARKANSAS

CALIFORNIA

COLORADO

CONNECTICUT

DELAWARE

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

FLORIDA

GEORGIA

HAWAII

IDAHO

ILLINOIS

INDIANA

INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE

IOWA

KANSAS

KENTUCKY

LOUISIANA

MAINE

MARYLAND

MASSACHUSETTS

MICHIGAN

MINNESOTA

MISSISSIPPI

MISSOURI

MONTANA

NEBRASKA

NEVADA

NEW HAMPSHIRE

NEW JERSEY

NEW MEXICO

NEW YORK

NORTH CAROLINA

NORTH DAKOTA

OHIO

OKLAHOMA

OREGON

PENNSYLVANIA

PUERTO RICO

RHODE ISLAND

SOUTH CAROLINA

SOUTH DAKOTA

TENNESSEE

TEXAS

UNIFORMED SERVICES

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

UTAH

VERMONT

VIRGINIA

WASHINGTON

WEST VIRGINIA

WISCONSIN

WYOMING


Lift up midwife students and mentor frequently.

Oh midwifery students! Give them coffee. Give the feedback! Give them a clinical site. Be their preceptor. Inspire them. Put your hands on their hands and teach them the art of midwifery. Teach them to be gentle and to be strong. Teach them to be courageous and to be humble. Teach them the hallmarks of midwifery. Talk to them about the type of midwife they want to be. What are their goals? How can you help them reach their goals? You might be teaching them the art of midwifery, but they will quickly be the soldier next to you on the front lines. Build them up to be the midwife you would want to practice with. Make it a priority to mentor someone this year on your path – student, fellow midwife, future midwife!

Not sure how to find a mentor? This article offers some great recommendations.

Sakina Health, produced by Takiya Sakina Ballard, also offers a series of mentorship services for aspiring midwives, student midwives and practicing midwives. Check her out here!

If you still can’t find a mentor, email me and I’ll happily offer mentorship to anyone on a midwifery journey however I can (amidwifenation@gmail.com)!

You can also learn from an amazing group of midwives that have interviewed on the podcast Journey to Midwifery. Each has shared their own story, journey and lessons learned.


Look for inspiration.

The pandemic put stressors on every point of our lives. I want to take a moment to recognize the inspiration that glowed from within many individuals during the pandemic.

There is inspiration everywhere you look. In the midst of the chaos, you just have to stop and look.


Prevent burnout and build resiliency.

I talked a lot about burnout this post! Look to achieve some of these in 2021…

Looking for book suggestions to help with habits, burnout or boundaries? Check out my recommendations here!


Think sustainability.

This goal comes from my wise friend Sam! To me, midwifery sustainability comes in 100 different slices. I like to think about sustainability as carrying a large flag that says “support midwifery” with you everywhere you go and waving it for all to see at every opportunity.

These are examples of waving your midwifery flag:

Remember – what is obvious to you may not be obvious to someone else. Look for opportunities to put the midwife in the model!


Get back to the basics.

Midwifery care is safe, beneficial and should be available to every woman – there’s more evidence to support that fact than ever before. But in the midst of all the barriers and opposition, we must continue to point to the facts and fight the fight to give women more access to midwifery care.

To help you with your fight, to renew your spirit and to refresh your knowledge of the facts from the national midwifery organizations, I encourage you to review these documents:


A few final thoughts about how to bolster the midwifery force…

Take a moment to remember why you became a midwife. Then find your light saber and holster it for the road ahead. We’re going to need it. Then choose something from this post to strengthen your practice as a midwife and the midwifery profession. I think the pandemic spotlighted midwifery in ways no one could have predicted – and prenatal care may be changed forever. But I also think midwifery is stronger from the pandemic – and the momentum for the profession is just getting started.

Hugs and light sabers,

Jamie


1 year ago on the blog…Friday Five (#13)


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