"Hippie" Image

  1. I have a major issue I have been dealing with. I am a senior BSN student set to graduate at the end of this semester and I plan to go onto a CNM in Ohio. I really enjoy OB and was considering being a Women's Health NP and everyone I talked to was all for it. Then I enjoyed labor and delivery so much I decided to go for the CNM. THEN everyone I knew made this face and said things like, "people still do that!?" and "aren't they a bunch of hippie-all-natural people?"

    I try to correct them and educate them but the more people say, the more it bothers me. I really believe that the birth process and pregnancy should be whatever the mother and family wants it to be, even if they want all the intervention in the world (as long as its safe of course). I do not pass judgement on any way someone would like to birth and don't even know if I would want to do it "naturally".

    I know that some midwives feel totally different and really push natural birth and this is the image the general public has. I guess my question is, how can I overcome all the stereotypes AND maybe is there an area for me that I would be a better fit for the model of practice? I sincerely appreciate any and all comments and I was not in any way trying to offend any person that believes that natural is superior! Thanks again!
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   mrscurtwkids4
    You know, I took a maternal/child course not too long ago that went into the issue of "natural" childbirth in comparison to "traditional" hospital births. I hadn't really thought about the issue very much before. Even though I've delivered 5 children (all c-section deliveries) I hadn't even considered the natural childbirth process. It just seemed "normal" to head to the hospital to have you child. This class just made me think more about the fact that it wasn't that many years ago when people delivered at home and did not use drugs or other medical interventions in having their children. My own father was home delivered. It seems that having children has started being treated almost like an illness than a natural occurance. The whole birthing process has become medicinized. Granted, there are some women who it wouldn't be safe for them to have home delivery. But I feel it all comes down to what the woman wants for her birthing experience and shouldn't be made to feel forced into what is considered "normal". The bulk of countries still today do not have such medicinized birthing processes, why has our country done so?? I think it's a matter of what the woman wants and what is safest for her and the baby. As far as changing the support and mindset that society has toward natural childbirth....there is no changing what people think. All we have control over is how we react to what other say and do. Good luck in you endeavor!
  4. by   lovingpecola
    I agree with the above poster in that people will always have something to say about whatever profession you choose!

    For me, CNM is a good way to have the best (and worst) of multiple childbirth worlds.

    The only person who can decide if midwifery is the right path (and which midwifery path) is you! :wink2:

    Maybe you could sit down and write out what you believe childbirth/women's health/women's rights in this country should be and then see what path (Midwife (type)/WHNP/OB) fits best with your personal philosophy on these issues. None will line up perfectly, but my guess is that one career will jump out at you over another. And if it doesn't, maybe take some time out before applying and continue to think about it...interview & shadow some practitioners, read some more literature on the subject, and continue to think about/write about what you believe until you come to a decision that really brings you peace - and a committment to that decision that is not easily swayed by other people's opinions!

    It's a hard question to answer, but well worth the effort!

    Good luck with the whole journey!

    LP
  5. by   CEG
    I am in a direct entry CNM program. I have heard this and I usually throw out some stats- "Actually, 11% of babies born in the US last year were delivered by midwives," is one of my favorites. Sometimes just telling people midwives catch babies in hospitals is enough to rock their world.

    I kind of enjoy the whole hippy, earth mother, goddess stereotype... there's just that unnamable earthy quality that a good midwife has that makes you love her and trust her and look forward to prenatal visits... can you tell I love my midwife

    Seriously though, having some stats on hand is usually helpful. Many people have genuinely not heard of modern day midwives, so it's a great oppurtunity to educate and gain potential future patients.
  6. by   midwife97
    We CNMs need one more person like you to educate the people in America. There are about 10,000 CNMs in the United States. They can do births in homes, hospital, and birth centers. They can do medical interventions if they need to. They are licensed and legal in all 50 states. Go to the American College of Nurse Midwives website for more information.
  7. by   Amberholmestm
    People can be really funny about midwives. I told one girl I want to be a midwife and she said "what's a midwife?" I explained they catch babies and she assumed I meant I wanted to be a neonatal nurse. I didn't bother to correct her.

    In any case, these people were supportive of your goal to be a WHNP but not a CNM? Strange, since they're pretty similar in scope, except for the actual catching part. Most midwives are probably proud of their hippie-image, but if it bothers you, just tell them that a Nurse-Midwife is basically the same thing as a Maternity Nurse Practitioner (which doesn't exist, but would be a perfectly good name in many ways for CNMs). Like was said in a previous post, just letting them know that CNMs deliver in hospitals should change their attitude some. Don't let stereotypes deter you.
  8. by   psalm
    Don['t worry about what others' perceptions are. You sound confident in wanting to pursue your CNM; and as long as you put your patients' needs and desires first, you will be a great role model for those who poo-poo CNM now.
  9. by   fmwf
    People are dynamic. They do change and "improve". They can also be influenced. By mass media, by market and by you . At the turn of a dime, a woman who has never even heard of a midwife can decide [informed by intuition] that she should be giving birth with a different practitioner than a sensational OB.

    I believed that midwives were obliterated until about 1996. I was ecstatic to learn otherwise. And I have no children.

    Plant a seed with objectivity... you just never know. Someone may need a holistic nurse after having a pregnancy managed medical model and remember your words --that there is such a person. They may tell their sister, wife, daughter. Studies show that people may demonstrate openness about midwives discreetly even if they don't know much about them. And information about midwives makes a significant impact on their likelihood to choose one.

    No need to internalize their reactions because midwives are universal, historical and vital. In otherwords, they are global, around for thousands of years and will always be needed!
    Last edit by fmwf on May 9, '09 : Reason: sp
  10. by   NickB
    You think you get a weird reaction from people. Try telling people that you plan to be a Midwife and be a male. They are so speechless that they don't even have the time to think about the hippy stereotype.
  11. by   Busia
    When I was pregnant with my first child, I decided to go with a midwife at the clinic for all prenatal appointments and then for my hospital delivery. Friends and family back home (about 3 hours away from where I live now) automatically assumed I was having "hippie home-birth". Drove me crazy. But in the area I grew up in, there were no midwives that worked at the clinics and hospitals. They all did home births, and pretty much were in the hippie crowd. So I think it depends a lot on what people are used to in their area. Where I live now, it seems 1 in 5 women use a midwife. I still see my midwife after three births (I'[m done having kids now) for all my gyno appointments, and people from back home don't understand that either. Then again, before I moved here, I never knew midwives did paps!

    Good luck to you, I think a midwife is a great profession and I'm SO thankful for the experiences I had with the midwives at my clinic!
  12. by   allthemadmen
    A chance for education is always worth taking advantage of- a friend of mine was surprised to hear that midwives carry oxygen- "I thought they only carried scissors to cut the cord," she said!
  13. by   CrunchRN
    Well, every midwife I have ever worked with was pretty much a hippie. Loved them, but just saying.........
  14. by   mommy2boysaz
    I am a CNM student and I get the same reactions from people in my area. I actually think it's quite humorous and I try to use these opportunities to educate people.
    Recently I saw an old friend from high school and I could tell she must've heard what I was in school for. She said, "So, what are you going back to school for?" (Very innocently. ) I said, " To become a Certified Nurse Midwife." She said (with eyebrows raised), "Oh, so you'll be going into people's homes..." I just laughed and said, "No, actually midwives deliver in hospitals and do complete well-woman care in offices, from prenatal care, deliveries, all the way through menopause." She just said, "Oh." I chuckled as I walked away!

    People NEED educated on this topic so badly in this country! It is happening, it's just a slow process...

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