Dear Midwife, I Forgive You
Perhaps you don’t remember me, or maybe I’m on your mind a lot since I filed that complaint back in 2016.
Maybe you see my posts on Facebook, maybe you don’t, but due to our close proximity and my growing connections in the birth community I would be surprised if you weren’t aware of how I’ve been telling my story for almost 8 years:
The way I felt when you told me “first time moms usually end up transferring anyway”.
When I felt like I didn’t know my own body, because all of my instincts that I told you I felt were dismissed.
How I went for non stress test after non stress test, every week, and did all the ultrasound scans, but not once was I told that the growth was normal and he was just smaller for dates.
How I wasn’t told that ultrasound scans aren’t 100% accurate and have a margin of error that was significant enough to warrant questioning.
How I wasn’t told that a truly growth-restricted fetus would also have a placenta that wasn’t functioning, and my placenta was healthy.
How I wasn’t told that I even had the right to choose a homebirth even in spite of these recommendations of a hospital birth.
How it was to have my husband, aka, the “voice of reason” in a patriarchal society, stand there and be told the risks of me having a homebirth so that by the end of the pregnancy he was no longer wanting to risk the possibility of a bad outcome, no matter how miniscule that outcome might actually be.
How it was to learn 2 years later, when I was planning the birth of my second child, that you had information in my files that might have led me to choose a homebirth and stop doing those unnecessary tests that had put financial strain on me and my husband due to parking and his missing work to take me to the appointments each week.
How it was to have suffered PTSD and Birth Trauma from my son’s birth, of which I never thought I could fully heal from…
Today, I met with a former client of yours who painted for me a much happier picture of you than what I have carried around with me for 8 years.
She told me that you give full informed consent in your practice now.
That you encourage your clients to dive into the evidence and research, and that you provide them with lots of materials to come to their own conclusions.
That since I saw you last, you have become the care provider that I actively seek out to refer people to.
I wish to forgive you, finally, after 8 long years of holding that pain inside.
I do not know when you changed your way of practicing.
Perhaps back then you had been pressured by the OB culture.
Perhaps you had been facing internal pressure from your own group practice, and that is ultimately why 2 years later when I went to interview there I found that it was under the control of the midwives and no longer a shared practice with OBs.
Perhaps you had heard through the grapevine that I was unhappy, and you have been silently lurking and watching how I tell my story, and you’ve taken it to heart as an opportunity to change.
Or perhaps you simply got as fed up with the lack of informed consent, saw how toeing the line was hurting your clients, and you decided that you were going to be a bit more rebellious if it meant serving those clients as they deserve to be served.
Whatever the reason, I wish to say thank you.
Whoever told you, or however you came to shift how you serve your clients I want you to know that I see you now.
I see you, and I honour you.
I also wish to tell you that while the past did hurt me, it also inspired me to become who I am today, and to serve the birthing families and the birth workers who support them so that we can all shift maternity care away from paternalism and toward true informed choice and bodily autonomy.
While at the time I felt like my confidence was undermined, I did seek to understand the pressures that midwives in our province are dealing with and I wanted very much to believe you were under that same pressure. I am happy (and also sad for you) that I was right about that. You did what you felt you had to at the time, based on circumstances and the experience you had leading up to the point we met, and now that the years have passed you have continued to grow, as I have, and you have done your best to move forward and learn from the past.
I appreciate you, dear Midwife, for the work you did to get where you are today.
I honour your journey, and I wish to let you know that should our paths ever cross again I will greet you as a friend and invite you into a conversation of healing and understanding, not judgment and anger.
I release my pain I held onto for 8 years in knowing that today someone spoke of you is such high esteem.
May you continue to serve and grow in your experience and wisdom.
All my love,