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Birth Keepers VS. Gate Keepers - What Does It REALLY Mean to Support Women’s Birth Choices

In my circles, the news has been full. Full of our sisters, fellow Midwives, being attacked by those who seek to control birth and women. Just this week, news articles came out about Lisa Jane Barrett, a very respected midwife who was charged with manslaughter.

And Lisa Kusch

Though these articles above relate to government attacks, there is an attack I’m seeing more and more often. This is the attack of sister against sister. It’s all too common for birth workers to throw each other under the bus because one midwife’s journey is not like another.

Attacks can come from those we expect and those we don’t.

No midwife enters this calling lightly. Our passion is rooted in a desire to provide choices for birthing women. Through these choices women can take back their power in birth and babies and mothers can be surrounded by a support system that best meets their needs. The midwife and family relationship is very transparent and open. We are very connected to our clients and their families. We are there in the full spectrum of life, and yes sometimes that includes death. We weep and mourn with these families in tough times, just as we celebrate in the joyous breaths of a new family member.

However, I see some sisters, (Midwifes, Doulas, Attendants etc.), resemble Gate Keepers rather than Birth Keepers. Gate Keepers, in the sense that birth workers can refuse to give women all of their birth options, especially if those options don’t align with the Gate Keeper’s ideology. As a result, our powerful calling comes at the cost of great rejection even by those closest to us.

We may not be able to stop government gate keeping on our sisters, but we absolutely must END the attacks on each other. If your journey doesn’t align with another’s, celebrate your differences knowing there is a PLACE for everyone. We can’t condemn one sister’s journey because of our lack of understanding. One of my favorite quotes from Maryn Green, founder of Indie Birth, is: “Our options are as big as we are.”

If we, as Birth Keepers, are truly for women’s birthing freedom, then we cannot omit options based on our bias. When we give women all of their options, it doesn’t necessarily mean we agree or promote those options. If I don’t know much about a referral or a topic, I will still give the option with the disclaimer that I don’t know much about them or the service. We don’t have to agree with the service or our fellow sister to support her.

As Birth Keepers, Midwives, and Attendants, we are all connected with a similar mission to serve women. It’s in our journey that we discover our uniqueness.

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