Public relations is an integral part of policy work for advanced practice nurses and midwives – if the public and policy makers don’t understand who we are and what we do, it’s difficult to advance our policy agenda. So a story on midwives in the Sunday New York Times was good to see.
This story had a bit of an unusual twist, however. It was in the Style Section and was headlined, The midwife as status symbol. The hook for the story was the super models and other famous people who have made midwife-attended birth trendy, although the reporter (who disclosed she’d been a patient of one of the Manhattan midwifery practices she covered) did note the basics of licensure and the major differences between obstetrics and midwifery.
While happy to see coverage of midwifery, Sophie Bethune, a DC-area communications professional who is awaiting the birth of her second child, noted, “I find it somewhat irritating that the increase in use of midwives or in home births is sometimes positioned as "trendy" or a "status symbol" rather than informed women making choices to avoid the unnecessary interventions that so often result from going the OB/hospital route.” A client of M.A.M.A.S. Inc. , a home-birth practice of two certified nurse-midwives, Sophie says she’s “sure that the reason Mairi and her partner Erin turn women away every month isn't because having a midwife is a "status symbol" but because there aren't enough homebirth midwives to keep up with the demand for low intervention birth!”
Mairi Breen Rothman, who I spoke with as she returned from the second birth in as many days, noted, “Every woman should have the option of a midwife. If super models make it trendy and help us get there, that’s great, but it’s what every woman deserves.”