It's no secret that the political atmosphere is at a boiling point. With, on going protests throughout the country demanding accountability from the financial conglomerates of America, and democrats vs. the republicans dancing in our heads...this could turn into the 12 days of Christmas song before long........ However, it seems like despite what is going on in corporate america, midwives are constantly on guard at the gates as social activist. You may not realize it, but midwives have been at the forefront of social change since women have been having babies...Yes, that's a long time. It was my interest in this constant river of social activism that first attracted me to midwifery as a profession...well aside from being able to witness and be apart of the amazing moments of change in a woman's life. Honestly though, you would be hard pressed to find a midwife who is not involved in social activism in some shape or form.
Here is something to think about when you hear midwives raving about all the beautiful birth's they have been able to attend in their lifetime. What made it possible for her to attend these births? Laws? Regulations? Do you think that Plan B magically appeared on the shelves of your pharmacy because Santa placed it there? What ever your belief's are on abortion, sexual education in schools, or VBACS (Vaginal Birth After C-sections)..Midwives have always been there to ensure you have a choice in the matter...yes.CHOICE!
Newly pinned and finally starting my work as a CNM, it seems there are many choices as to where I want to insert myself in this ongoing cycle of change as a social activist. While abortion and sexual education in schools deserves to be championed by a newly minted midwife, I feel my efforts need to be directed towards helping setting up reg's for birth centers. New Mexico might be the mecca for midwives to practice in, there are some areas that still need to be championed. As of today, there are no regulatory laws in place pertaining to birth centers. This is important for many..many reasons. Birth centers in New Mexico..all of 2 right now, manage operating costs and services through grants, fundraisers. All of which are on going..and as a side note, the midwives who run these amazing places are not only social activists, but savvy business women, birth supporters, and guardians of women's health. Despite there ongoing financial fundraising activities, they also get "some" support from insurance companies who reimburse for their services. As it stands, unlike hospitals, birth centers do not get reimbursed for the building that these births take place in. They only get reimbursed as providers of the service. Where as hospitals, they are able to charge you for the service they provided on an individual provider bases and as a "hospital" providing the service...and many other services that are over the top expensive.
As a new guardian at the gates of social change, I am amazed of what goes on behind closed doors and even more surprised that the changes that are going on never sleep.....and yes, even the lies that are told. Being able to see the many complex layers of how policy affects our access to certain healthcare services is mind boggling. Midwifery is more then catching babies and solstice celebrations, it is social activism at it's best. There are many battles fought in hospital board rooms and legislation tables way before women in our care are ever aware of them. Keeping you informed is a big part of our work as midwives, mothers, and women. No longer am I just a witness in this process, but rather a presence with a unique cultural perspective on the ebb and flow on this ocean of social change. As an elder from Canada once told me " Your voice is your medicine." It can be used for healing in many ways.
Here are a few sites of interest.
NM 2011 Legislation Highlights