Okay, so I’m writing about abortion. Abortion and also about choices in general.
So here it is: your opinion is irrelevant. Read it again. Your opinion is irrelevant.
Midwifery means lots of different things to different people. To me, midwifery means activism, politics, reproductive justice, feminism; bringing birth back to communities, it means healing from trauma, and many other things.
Midwifery to me is also about choice and it always will be. I mean, this is rather obvious; two of our three tenets have to do with choice. (Refresh your memory: choice of birthplace, informed choice…) Now choice in midwifery doesn’t refer to your choices as a person or as a health care provider but to the choice of clients, whom you’ve decided to dedicate your entire professional life. Your opinion is irrelevant.
Informed choice. This means that after you’ve presented all the research, good and bad, discussed your clinical opinion, and the community standard, you “allow” your client to make their own choices about their healthcare. This means that after your informed choice discussion (ICD), your client makes a decision. Their decision. And you, as a midwife support it. Facilitate it. Make their choices become clinical reality regardless of what your feelings are. No judgement. This is where it ends… or the best work of your life begins. Dare I say that if you don’t understand choice or are uncomfortable facilitating client choices, then you might be in the wrong profession.
Now before everyone gets the hair on their back up about this post, take a deep breath. It’s not about you, just like it’s not about me either. Frankly, my opinion on this matter isn’t worth more than anyone else’s because it’s actually about clients. It’s about providing terrific care to those people in all kinds of settings under all sorts of circumstances.
In fact, the minute you sign up to be a health care provider, you’re supposed to toss all those preconceived notions and personal ideals out the window because those personal ideologies have no place in healthcare. Your purpose as an outstanding health care provider is to provide excellent care in a non-judgemental way.
Now I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I don’t judge people. I do. I’m also not going to sit here and think that I will agree with all the choices my clients make. But here’s the thing: my opinion is irrelevant. One of my goals is to constantly provide outstanding care to every single person that walks through my clinic doors and create relationships with clients so that they feel safe (emotionally, physiologically, culturally, etc.) in my care.
The purpose of this post isn’t to offend. At least not a lot. Maybe I mean for it to sting the ego a little. Not because I want to hurt an anti-choice person’s feelings (because I don’t), but to highlight that your opinion on abortion isn’t really important to how you serve your clients. Because I hope that as health care providers, our opinions wouldn’t change the way we treat our clients. And also that I think as midwives, we should strive to be humble and don’t think that we know it all, cause we don’t. Your clients will likely teach you more than all those textbooks you bought this year – actually, I can guarantee that.
I’m disabling comments on this post not out of fear for having a conversation about abortion but because this post isn’t about that debate or discussion. This post is about being a health care provider and a midwife, and my opinion about the kind of midwife I want to be. And the kind of midwife that I want to be is not up for debate.