I viewed/read your entire birth photolog. I have wanted to be a midwife for over a decade now, but some life stuff made me alter my plans. However it continues to call me. I am touched by you sharing your experience because I do not hear anything about Black women and homebirth, let alone Black women and birth, unless it is of the racial disparities tone.Hi R.J.
I, like you, question if I would have many patients because I don't want to entertain analgesics and such...LOL...but I am in a tri-state area where birth centers and homebirth midwives are flourishing.
I'm glad you got something out of Shmolee's birth photos. I have often had to create what it was I was seeking. When I was pregnant with Shmolee, but also with Stinkapee, I couldn't find complete and graphic birth images of Black wimmin birthing in their own contexts.
A few hospital shots, some Black wimmin also birthing in hospitals on birth story. Even a few images of Black wimmin partnered with white men, still very demurely shot. I don't know what things are like now, as I haven't done any research for quite a while. The baby bug threatens to overtake me again, but Papi isn't on board and I'm actually looking ahead about another year or so befored his disinterest becomes of any real concern. :)
Sometimes I talk about homebirth and midwives with the Black wimmin, mostly working class, who I encounter on sidewalks.
One Black woman I spoke with asked a really interesting question: "Is your husband white?" When I said no and asked why, she said something that made it clear that a Black woman having access to the knowledge and to the entitlement needed to pull of a homebirth would only be understandable if she were partnered with a man who had white skin privilege.
I've seen this sort of twisted logic reflected in who online is considered an expert on homebirth and midwifery. Obviously there would have to be some access to new agey whiteness for the knowledge to flow towards a pregnant Black woman, who otherwise, would not be considered a fit or good mother because of her relationship to white domination. :) In truth, I myself was directed to midwives by a white lesbian I knew years ago.
I also just remembered...
When I encountered a Black caregiver in the city just after I got pregnant with Stinkapee (my first) and before I had decided what I wanted to do about being pregnant, this woman tsk-tsked me about not having more access as an immigrant Black woman who had come here so many years ago...I shouldn't have been coming to a clinic to get looked at...I should know exactly what to do and where to go...and she lectured me about my eating habits, too. I was eating macdonalds french fries and never called me back to arrange for a follow up appointment. I guess she felt she could choose who she gave care to and who she wouldn't. :) The Black middle class...you just gotta luv em. :)
It's always really clear to me how little information flows to everyday Black wimmin at least in Toronto about midwives and homebirth. Even the fact that midwives are free, covered by our government health insurance is a fact that surprises the wimmin I encounter.
But, yeah, I had wanted to be a midwife but the amount of state control and medical establishment intervention even in an average midwife's education and accreditation is horrifying. I couldn't do it. I couldn't be that kind of midwife. I wouldn't be able to sit with what I understand a midwife was, should be, could be and then study within the parameters of what the doctor/butchers and their hospital corpoarations allow midwives to be...? I wouldn't make it.
Please, no one come writing to me about changing the system from within. The idea of making substantial change while participating inside a system designed to dominate and control is a liberal myth hatched to make entry and assimilation into said systems more acceptable and not as awful sounding. As long as I've met people who speak of this way of interacting with systems that control and crush, I've met people who drug themselves, lose themselves, become depressed, lose their hair, have massive anxiety among other symptoms originating from their psyches and bodies fight or flight reflex rendered impotent because collusion isn't a natural self preservation response to danger. Resistance and/or running are.
And no, working with the majority of Black wimmin who might find their way into the care of a midwife doesn't serve to entice as often their approaches to birth can be as interventionist as white middle class wimmin. Although their reasons, as the dominated who have often been refused adequate "care" from doctor/butchers and their minions located inside the hospital corporation, come from a sense of having "moved on up" if they can have a hospital birth with all the ministrations, bells and whistles delivered by midwives located inside the hospital corporation, or from doctor/butchers and other hospital staff. Birthing inside a hospital corp is often taken as evidence of having access by new immigrants as well, who may have known only homebirths, without care or support back home.
So, as per usual...
Yet another complexly contradictory, messy kettle of smelly, slightly rotting fish.
I'm thinking of becoming a mortician. :)