Midwifery is Dead
Long Live Midwifery
The disordered, morbid state of midwifery today is largely a testament to how warped and perverse the fundamental perceptual framework of birth has become.
All over the internet, you’ll find midwives talking about births they’ve attended, whether for the purposes of public education, self-promotion, or just anecdote.
In the retelling of these narratives, midwives routinely situate themselves at the centre of women’s births, describing the enacting some of the most invasive and even violent of unnecessary procedures and interventions—procedures and interventions that are standard fare within the hospital system—positioning those interventions as the reason why the baby was born, or the why the baby was healthy, or the explanation for how the birth “worked out”.
These accounts are shared with total obliviousness to the ways in which these behaviours constitute a form of direct mimicry, replication, and in some cases, an intensification of obstetric violence — even to the extent of what I would call obstetric rape.
Midwives consistently describe how they “put” women into certain positions, tell them what to do, instruct them on how to breathe, how to push, and consistently detail how they put their hands inside women’s vaginas, invading their bodies, and assaulting their babies.
The practice of vaginal exams—“checks” for dilation, and the violent molestation of women’s cervixes, so often perversely and euphemistically described as “cervical massage” —is ubiquitous.
Let me be clear: There are almost never any legitimate situations in birth that require a stranger to shove their hands inside a woman’s vagina.
This just isn’t how birth works.
This is how the sabotage of birth works.
In fact, this practice of “vaginal exams” manifestly hinders the birth process.
Furthermore, this operation hurts women. It causes agonizing pain, it’s humiliating, and its primary purpose is to reinforce our subjugation—ultimately endangering mother and baby.
No woman in touch with her instinctive knowing would ever allow such a transgression at the best of times, but being fingered or fisted especially while we’re trying to give birth is particularly excruciating.
In order to ensure that a woman will bypass her instincts and submit to such a sadistic procedure (without kicking her midwife’s teeth in, in self-defence), the midwife therefore must first successfully groom her client to believe that it it really is for the her own good to have this woman stuff her hand into her vaginal canal and maul her cervix—arguably the most exquisitely sensitive part of the body, hidden at the very centre recesses of the pelvis to ensure its protection.
In fairness, the grooming that leads to our repeated self-betrayal as women starts far earlier than our first encounter with a midwife—we are entrained since our own births, through our experiences of being sacrificed to the medical priesthood by our parents, through our earliest encounters with the gynaecological sphere, to dissociate from our instincts, and willingly offer up our bodies to the professionals.
I recognize too, that midwives themselves are only echoing the abuses they too have been taught to accept and to welcome.
Birth is the bellwether of the state of consciousness of any society.
We are alive right now, in a planetary cultural context and at a time in which we have utterly lost our collective understanding of not only how birth works, but of what birth is.
The closest it seems we’ve come to comprehending the nuances of birth, is to duplicate industrial allopathic rituals with what amounts to an aesthetic differentiation only. As long as your midwife is wearing a flowing skirt and speaking softly while she reams your cervix, it must be alright.
Is it rape if she’s asking for it?
Is it rape if she has been taught that this is what’s good for her? Is it rape if the rapist is raping with the utmost conviction?
Exponential numbers of people are waking up to the kinds of abuses that take place in the hospital, especially within the obstetric realm, and at least to some extent, at least some of us expect those abuses to occur in the system.
But when we are invited into a relationship with a midwife who presents herself and her services as an alternative to the demeaning and abusive medical paradigm, but who then ends up reproducing those same customs differentiated only by approachable branding and the veneer of spirituality, the betrayal is immense.
Many women, of course, never come to view these interactions as betrayal at all, and instead carry the story of their having been “delivered” by their heroic midwife into motherhood and beyond. It’s this dynamic that ensures that the cycle of obfuscated trauma, psychic and psychological dependency, and spiritual bypassing continue.
I used to believe that an integral form of “traditional” midwifery that surely existed in bygone days had simply been lost, or had fallen by the wayside.
For years I believed that my role and my objective was to “reclaim” the kind of integrated midwifery that once been the norm.
But having observed what is described as “independent” or “holistic” midwifery for the past two decades, and as I’ve increasingly immersed myself in historic midwifery texts, I’ve come to a very different kind of realization: if there ever was a form of midwifery that was rooted in the embodied knowing that birth is both a profoundly simple process, and as the most awesome and holy spiritual transformation available, rooted in the knowing that birth actually works, and works *best* in the absence of even the most well-intentioned of interferences; that delays, exhaustion, pain, obstruction, and most forms of “complications,” are generally *caused* by the projected fears of those in attendance which are then translated into the irresistible urge to fix, or “help”, or advise, or “coach”, or manually manipulate…there are few if any historical or archaeological vestiges of such an approach available.
I have had to conclude that is no real existing cultural evidence of a truly resonant, wise, and reverent approach to birth in recorded time.
Even exalted and romanticized accounts of “indigenous” midwifery (then and now) showcase a commitment to unnecessary meddling--babies being aggressively repositioned, birthing women being crowded over, exhorted to do this and that.
I refuse to pander to the cultural relativist notion that simply because a birth tradition is…traditional, that it’s somehow logical, or beneficial, or in alignment with the physiology of birth (a physiology that cannot be separated from the spiritual journey.)
There is a difference between birth liberation and the obfuscatory exercise of *performing* birth as a way of reinforcing cultural values under the pretext of “physiological practices.”
This pretence is revealed in the vast array of rationalizations that are given for the very same procedures undertaken in different philosophical contexts.
For example, the logic for obtrusive vaginal exams in “the system”, is that they’re necessary in order to “check dilation” (a ludicrous, idiotic, unnecessary concept).
But a friend of mine and a recent graduate of the Radical Birth Keeper School, Caitlyn Collins (@birthinto_essence on Instagram), recently explained to me that during her initial supposedly “holistic” midwifery training, she was taught that an essential midwifery skill involves understanding the “energetic trigger points” on a woman’s cervix, so that those trigger points can be properly “activated” to expedite or facilitate a woman’s birth.
Same procedure, entirely different rationalization. It’s almost as though this shit is made up out of thin air—any way to substantiate laying claim to a birthing woman’s body.
Within the industrial obstetric realm, the pseudo-medical pretext of the “cervical lip” is the rationale for brutally desecrating the sacred portal of our origin, whereas the so-called “spiritual midwife”, will often call this “massage”, thereby making a compounded mockery of her own work, the women she serves, and the holiness of birth itself.
Midwives, the time is now, to wake up to the fact that You too are been used. Whether by the medical industrial complex through its direct appropriation of the practice and politic of midwifery, or by the revision of history through the longstanding reiteration of a cognitive frame that has distorted our relationship with nature and with our bodies for countless generations, and even aeons, excused by “custom” or “folklore,” you too are being instrumentalized.
And unwittingly or not, you are hurting mothers and babies through your complicity.
Since I gave birth to my ninth baby (almost a year ago as I write) with no effort, no pain, no struggle, no fragment of “labour” or resistance (using a mental and spiritual scaffolding I teach in my new program “Portal”), I have seen so much more clearly, that the story of birth as pain and struggle is intimately bound with the legend that birth needs expert “management,” or even guidance.
Midwifery is dead. Long live midwifery.
No, this does not actually mean that I see no place for midwifery.
On the contrary, I am immensely inspired by what I know midwifery can be, and by how profoundly birth and the revolution in birth-work that is unfolding today is tied to the spiritual awakening so many of us are moving through.
It is a shift in consciousness in how we understand birth itself that rectifies the connections between life, embodiment, self-healing, radical powerful mothering, death, and God.
It’s this shift that inspired the Radical Birth Keeper School, the program for aspiring authentic radical midwives that colleague Emilee Saldaya and I created.
These concepts are also at the core my transformational program for mothers (and birth keepers), Portal—The Keys to Blissful Birth: Choosing Pain-Free, Orgasmic Birth.
The time is now for the decolonization of our species in every corner of the world.
Only we can choose to free ourselves of the shackles of industrialism and the larger spiritual dis-ease-state of victim-perpetrator consciousness.
Birth is the source, always.
The Radical Birth Keeper School is now open for enrolment.
Join The Bauhauswife Birth Circle Community to learn with Yolande in community.
Enroll in PORTAL: The Keys to Blissful Birth—Choosing Pain-Free Orgasmic Birth
If you’re interested in exploring ways to become more free, especially in the context of the enormous changes occurring rapidly on every level of society, access my acclaimed “Dep0pulation & Ascension” Salon, for an exploration of what it is to be sovereign while the matrix crumbles: Access my SALON: Depop & Ascension
For anyone interested in learning more about the pathologization of birth through the “malposition” industry, get access to my recent salon on Positioning and Shoulder Dystocia Here.
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at the moment i am going through a complete aversion to midwifery. i have recently de-registered myself with much relief. i resonate with your words and thoughts so much ever since i was led to your work and FBS. so grateful for your voice in the world particularly the birth world. x
This is so important. Please share this with anyone you know who is interested in Childbirth. PLEASE!