Thursday, September 27, 2012

Its here! We've been quiet but busy working on the second draft of the Midwifery Student Bill of Rights.  Look closely because this document has gone through a big transition and we are very proud of the newest draft.

Please send us your feedback to FutureMidwives@gmail.com!  We want to hear from everyone even if you disagree.  

*There is one error in the first paragraph.  Future Midwives Alliance's website is FutureMidwives.blogspot.com.
*The formatting is not perfect we will try to fix that by the final published draft.

You can follow the link to:

Monday, May 28, 2012

As part of the ongoing conversation regarding the Midwives of Color and MANA we wanted to post this letter which represents what we consider to be the beginning work in dismantling colonialism in our hearts and in midwifery.

By Wendy Gordon Midwife

I apologize.

To the midwives of color who wrote a letter to MANA and all of the midwives who feel represented by that letter: the pain that you have expressed in your resignation is more uncomfortable for me to hear than to continue to hold my own silence for fear of being ostracized by my white sisters. I belong to organizations whose leadership may or may not apologize for the issues that you have put before us all. I will not let these things inhibit me from making my own apology.

I apologize that it took me 40+ years to start to get it, to open my eyes and ears, to start to question and examine my stereotypes and what I thought I knew about about my country’s history. I will teach my daughter how to think critically about what she is seeing and hearing.

I apologize for accepting the small amount that I have learned about the history of my profession and for not seeking more information. I will continue to educate myself and my students in this regard.

I apologize for taking so long to finally start to *see* my privilege and the racism & oppression all around me, and for prioritizing my own discomfort in calling out that racism over the pain of the persons experiencing it. I will build my skills in recognizing it when it happens, calling it out and breaking down my privilege and that of the professional and educational institutions to which I belong. I will continue to read and seek out workshops to learn more; I understand that this is a journey that has no end.

I attended the CPM Symposium. I heard the pain that was expressed through Paula Rojas’s speech that night and I stood as a white ally. I apologize for failing to stand and protest when the very next day midwives of color were forgotten again. Twice. I may bumble with my words until I get it right, but I will stand and protest when I see this in the many opportunities that will undoubtedly present themselves. It is not your responsibility to continue to point out, it is mine. I take it.

As a midwifery educator, I apologize to my students for making them do assignments that were insensitive at the very least, and traumatizing at worst; for not realizing that in order to build knowledge of other cultures that it is essential to first know ourselves and examine our own biases and values, and that only when that inner work has been done will we be able to turn our focus outward and start to become truly competent as clinicians. I will continue to do my own work in this regard and build support structures and accountability for students to do their own work as part of a responsible midwifery education curriculum. 

I also apologize to the midwives and women of color who have come to my classes as guests and who have been activated by the experience. I was asking the wrong questions from the wrong seat in the stands because I had not yet begun my own personal work, and I apologize for role modeling that to the students in those classes. I can hardly believe that you keep coming back after that, and I thank you deeply for your willingness to keep trying.

I also apologize to the students who were traumatized by the example of yet another racially and culturally unaware white person trying to “teach” about cultural competency. I am now walking beside the students as we all learn together; I am getting out of their way. I commit to continuous, critical examination of all of my courses for bias, for voices that are not being heard, and for women who are not being served by my curriculum, and I will seek out feedback because I know that I have blind spots. 

I apologize for failing to make the connection between racism and disparities in preterm birth, low birth weight, infant & maternal mortality, and for too long thinking that they were actually separate issues. I will work to make that connection clear for others who hear my voice. I am dismayed by what it means that homebirth rates are increasing but only for middle-class white women. Our mothers and babies of color are dying and midwifery care may be a solution, but only if those providing that care are racially and culturally aware and skilled. I commit to doing my part in helping the next generation of midwives to do their personal work so that they can be competent placeholders while more midwives of color can be trained. And I will do my work in ensuring that the midwifery education program in which I teach is a safe space for women of color. I am grateful to be working within a department and institution that is open to making these changes and willing to struggle to figure it out.

I have no doubt that I am currently making new mistakes as I continue to open my eyes, and I welcome the necessary feedback to become aware of my continually moving blind spots. I am deeply grateful to those who have already pointed them out. I am very sorry about the fracture that has occurred this week in the midwifery profession and the events that made the resignations necessary. In whatever form things move forward, it is my sincere desire to be in service to building a strong midwifery profession that is committed to *all* mothers and babies and to each other.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wow, so it has been a while since we lasted posted on the blog. In case you weren't aware FMA is  entirely run in our spare time so when lives get busy, things slow down (at least our communication with the outside world slows.) Even though we haven't been in touch of late we have made some HUGE progress.

Time for some announcements!
  • The first draft of the Midwifery Student's Bill of Rights is ready for review and feedback! It is printed in the spring issue of SQUAT Birth Journal. Sincere thanks to www.squatbirthjournal.org for supporting the Bill of Rights. 
It is also available here: https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1hKJRiz2Z-GIyf8tE3myCgp4XUS7lAv3OtQbI-NPQ5sY

This has been a major feat and has incorporated the words and wisdom of many elder and young midwives alike. A rigorous survey process was used to create the framework. We are proud of the document (and still very open to constructive criticism.) There will be three rounds but this initial one is very important. Feedback can be sent to: futuremidwives@gmail.com

  • We did receive a response from the NACPM, so thanks for writing! Janelle and Jeramie applied for scholarship and were both offered $300 scholarships. Unfortunately, this was not enough for us to make it to the symposium. Unfortunately neither of us were able to make the streaming option, however we hope to be able to collaborate with the NACPM in the future and appreciate their efforts
  • We are looking for volunteers specifically graphic designers, programmers, social media folks, and grant writers! Do you have any of these skills and have even just 2 hours a week to donate? Email us!
  • We had a small leap ahead in California this week. The Chief of Medical Licensing read our document and has asked to see the completed version! Yay! That said, we still need help spread the word and getting feedback.
Please send the following link to everyone you know and ask them to take a minute to let us know what they love and what they don't.

copy/ paste this link: 
https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1hKJRiz2Z-GIyf8tE3myCgp4XUS7lAv3OtQbI-NPQ5sY

Thanks for your continued support. You can support us by joining FMA ($0-50/year), volunteering your time and spreading the word. In Solidarity.

Jeramie & Janelle

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Form Letter to NACPM

If you are interested in sending a letter to the NACPM (president@nacpm.org) regarding student representation at the upcoming CPM Symposium you may consider using the following letter in part or in whole.


I encourage you to share personal experiences that motivate you to participate in this important forum.


If you would like to send it anonymously, forward it to me and I will send it from the futuremidwives@gmail.com email.


Dear NACPM leadership,
I write to you as a midwifery student/supporter of midwifery students.  I fully support the stated goals of the CPM Symposium you have planned for March.  The work of promoting midwifery as a profession is essential to the health and well being of our communities.


Please consider that student midwives have a unique perspective in the accomplishment of these goals.  Since the profession of midwifery and therefore the educational process toward becoming a CPM is changing at such a rapid pace I believe that it is crucial to bring student midwives into the conversation about how to make the education process sustainable.


Please consider inviting the students to represent their perspective in this important Symposium.  Several leaders have naturally arisen over the past few years.  We have formed a student organization called the Future Midwives Alliance.


I look forward to seeing how you incorporate the student perspective into this crucial work.
Sincerely,
Student/Supporter



Sunday, January 8, 2012

Do students deserve a voice?

We are in full support of the work that is happening at the upcoming CPM Symposium.
Below are the stated objectives:

  • A fresh, strengthened sense of ourselves as valuable and valued primary care providers
 and midwifery educators in the U.S.
  • A dynamic new community of CPMs and educators where many more voices are engaged 
in creating the maternity care system of the future
  • A mutually-held appreciation of the essential roles of education and professional association
 in strengthening the profession of CPMs
  • A clear sense of being equipped to act to achieve our goals
  • A deep appreciation of our past, our present situation, and an open thinking about where we
can go from here
  • A renewed vision and concrete next steps for effectively carrying forward the profession
  • A variety of vehicles for engaging CPMs and educators beyond the scope of this event


Do you think midwifery students should be a part of this conversation?  Do you think we have a unique perspective in the process of becoming a midwife as it currently stands?  Do you have something to offer to this process?  
Now is the time to make your voice heard.  You can email the NACPM directly: 
president@nacpm.org (Mary Lawlor)  


Let NARM and the NACPM know that you want representation in this process.  Jeramie and Janelle are willing to go to the Symposium and represent you!  If you have any contributions we will voice them.  Just let us know!

Lets participate in the process that effects our lives and our future practices so deeply.
Janelle and Jeramie
Co-Directors Future Midwives Alliance

Friday, January 6, 2012

Public Letter Re: Upcoming CPM Symposium

Dear NACPM leader,
I am excited to see this happening and am interested how you plan to incorporate the student voice into discussions about making midwifery education sustainable.  As a founding member and co-director of the Future Midwives Alliance I would like to represent the needs and voice of students in this symposium.  It is however financially prohibitive for me to attend even at the early bird member rate.

A major project the Future Midwives Alliance is working on in contribution to this work is a Midwifery Student Bill of Rights.  We are working to document the inherent rights and responsibilities of midwifery students in a respectful way.  We believe that the more sustainable midwifery education becomes the better future midwifery has.  As part of our process we have mentors and advisers from the community both for the documents and our organization and we will put out our drafts for several rounds of feedback before the final publication.  We are basing our work in large part on the Nursing and Medical Student Bills of Rights.

We believe that this work is a major contribution to the conversation you are facilitating at the Symposium.  

I look forward to your response.
Many Blessings,
Janelle
Co-Director Future Midwives Alliance