My midwife betrayed me giving me a beautiful gift

My midwife betrayed me giving me a beautiful gift


Posted 2015-06-05 by lizzifollow
When I published my letter to my midwife , detailing how her betrayal of my baby and I left me feeling, I received so many messages of support and shared grief that I lost count. But I also received a lot of messages about remembering the positives. That everything happens for a reason. And this is exceptionally true.

My midwife betrayed my trust, hurt me more deeply than anyone will ever know. But in doing so she gave me an amazing gift – one I’m sure she never meant to!


Prior to my “failed vbac” I thought that I knew some stuff. I had suffered birth trauma before you see. And as a result I had done a crap tonne of research. I knew about “bait and switch”, I knew about the cascade of interventions, I knew about the importance of choice of care provider and I knew that homebirth was my best option for the birth I wanted.

But there’s a difference between knowing something in your head and knowing it with every fibre in your body. Knowing it with your soul. And sometimes the only way to truly know something is to live it and learn it the hard way. And so I did.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Just because it is a midwife providing the care doesn’t mean that you are receiving midwifery care. This was probably the first BIG lesson learned. I remember commenting to my doula at about 40 weeks – “I’m not actually receiving midwifery care, I’m receiving obstetric care…it’s just being provided by a midwife”. I chose a midwifery group program model of care because I wanted evidence based, woman centred, respectful midwifery care. If I wanted “standard care” I would have just signed up for it! And don’t get me wrong (although I know some people love to!) I don’t “blame” the midwife. I couldn’t imagine how heartbreaking it must be for these women to enter into a profession expecting to provide a certain service and then to not be able to. But let’s stop lying to women about what type of care they can realistically expect to receive.

Midwives are the experts in normal [hospital] birth. At my booking in appointment at 10 weeks, while discussing my plans for my birth, my midwife assured me that “midwives are the experts in normal birth”. This made me feel so incredibly grateful that I had chosen midwifery care. But, as with the point above, all is not as it seems. A huge question to ask here is: What is a “normal” birth? Because a “normal” vbac involves a lot of stuff that wasn’t on my plan and bore no resemblance to a physiological birth – which is what I actually wanted. Midwives are becoming the experts in normal hospital birth – how to cannulate, how to set up and monitor the CTG machine, how to ensure that VEs are completed “on time” and how to check whether the woman falls into the realms of “normal” according to the partogram. Want to know if your midwife is an expert in physiological birth? Ask her how many scarves she’s knitted this year – the more the better!

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Trust is important. We hear a lot about how important it is that women trust their care providers (but less about how important it is for care providers to be trustworthy…Hmmm). But I found that it’s also super important for care providers to trust their clients. Once I realised that my midwife did not trust me the betrayal was almost complete. She didn’t trust that I had the absolute best interests of my baby in mind. She didn’t trust that I was best placed to make decisions about my birth. She didn’t trust my decision making ability. And really she didn’t trust birth. How could I trust myself when the “expert” didn’t?

The Australian maternity care system is broken…and I can’t fix it. I had dreams of going in and having such an awesome, hands off, physiological vbac that my hospital would all of a sudden realise how wrong they’ve been. Sounds so silly, now…thinking that I would be able to fix a system that is so huge, so dedicated to the protection of hospitals and so fundamentally broken. Clarity.

I no longer hold such delusions of grandeur as to believe that people will trust me, that I can trust them, that they mean what they say and say what they mean. I no longer seek to educate people just about birth physiology – if you want to learn about "the stages of labour" you can read it in a book. I seek to help women discover, remember, develop the tools they need to secure their own power over themselves and their births. I seek to help women find their own truths and their own paths to the births that are best for them and their babies.

Courtesy of MorgueFile.

Perhaps the biggest gift my midwife’s betrayal gave me is my writing. It would never have occurred to me to write, until I started thinking about writing a letter of complaint about how I was treated. And if my words have helped even one woman to rediscover her legal, physical and spiritual power in birth, if my writing has encouraged even one midwife to evaluate her own practice then I can be grateful. Grateful that my midwife’s betrayal of me could help another woman and her family.

Further reading:

{A letter to my midwife}

{Why Australia NEEDS a maternity care revolution}

{Why I'm joining the birthing revolution}

{A birthing revolution for Australian midwives}

{What being bullied says about you}

{To myself, always remember}

{I love my baby the most}

258483 - 2023-07-20 01:24:40


Copyright 2024 OatLabs ABN 18113479226