in all areas
So, the anonymous comment to my business owning rant says I clearly believe that midwives are supposed to give and give and give until the wither up and blow away.
I answer that I do not believe that at all, but that I find it is THE mentality of the midwifery community. I decided to take this article to the blog itself. Here come the examples.
(While just saying I am hyperbolic, I also understand when not to be. I am not being hyperbolic here.)
- Women come to midwives and express disbelief that we would charge them at all for anything. They want to know how we got "jaded" and have the gall to ask for money for something that's supposed to be a "calling."
- Women come to me/us at the end of their pregnancy and want a discount on services because of their indecision or realization of their needs or even that they just moved and need a midwife. It doesn't matter that we double up prenatal visit times, expend even more energy trying to get the whole picture of the woman and the dynamics of her family so trust can be built both ways, re-arranging schedules, finding an assistant and back-up, etc. Most midwives feel they work twice as hard when awoman comes in the third trimester. I concur.
- Women with PLENTY of money haggle for discounts FAR FAR FAR more than women who scrape money together for a doula or midwife. Women who are motivated to have a home birth, find a way to pay - even if it is $5 a month until the kid turns 18. Or barters. It's telling when a woman hems and haws on the phone even before meeting a midwife, trying to bargain down the price with whatever circumstances they can conjur - but I might not call you - but what if you just sit there - but what if you don't bring an assistant - but our insurance doesn't cover it - but we just bought a new car - but but but.
- UCers want to know if I/we will come if they need help - long labor, pitocin, antibiotics, suturing - yet are aghast that we'd charge for those services that take us out of our homes with NO knowledge the call is coming in, take time to drive, time to be there (away from something else or some other client), use our supplies, counsel, most certainly make postpartum visits, and do paperwork that often includes securing a birth certificate. How can this be so strange?
The Sears guy comes out to work on the dishwasher and has to go get a part from the shop and charges every second out of his vehicle and "on the job" - the doctor walks in, yacks for 2.5 minutes and leaves - and yet, no one bats an eye! (well, many certainly complain, but it doesn't change anything) Midwives offer so much more! Even to a UCer who needs some help.
It is in our experiences (not all, I am sure, but these are common discussions in midwifery and consumer groups) that we have the belief that we are expected to give and give and give. It isn't MY belief, it is that of the pregnant woman (generalization).
Midwives are not valued in our culture. Midwives are romantisized. It is half the reason the majority of apprentices fall by the wayside. It's a WHOLE lot different imagining the beauty of staring at a newborn baby in his mama's arms vs. being on your hands and knees scrubbing blood out of the carpet with a bottle of peroxide or sitting in a tiny room with a woman and her mean husband for 17 hours.
I believe when we are valued, and certainly that valuation begins at home, then the issue of money won't be so damn hard to bring up, discuss, or cultivate.
Thanks for saying something, Anon.