An Appeal

Here is part of my application to participate in Midwife International‘s 1-year training program. There were other questions asked, and answers given, but I thought I’d share this since it gives a good (albeit brief) description of the how and why I’m pursuing this…

“I am thrilled to be applying for participation in your organization’s one-year midwifery training program. The combination of on-site experience, multi-cultural exchange and comprehensive health studies is very appealing to me and I hope to contribute my own unique experience to the process, should I be accepted.

I graduated with honors from the University of Rochester in upstate New York, after completing undergraduate work in Anthropology. Upon completing my fourth year under a full-tuition scholarship grant, I entered into a fifth year “Take Five” scholarship in which I pursued a curriculum of my own design. My focus was photojournalism and sustainability culture, but I also used this time to complete a thesis in the Anthropology department. I started out researching midwifery but quickly realized that I knew so little about standard American childbirth practices that I would have to study hospital obstetrics as well. What began as an impassioned project about home birth quickly became a socio-historical critique of the hospital-based interventionist system that has become the norm for many American families. While reading Ina May Gaskin, Elizabeth Davis, Marsden Wagner and Robbie Davis-Floyd I became both enraged and inspired about the state of modern maternal care in my home country. I questioned what it meant to have “choice” in this system, the role of “authoritative knowledge”, and how the new global virtual realm might affect family empowerment and health care decisions. Although I successfully presented my thesis to the Department and was awarded and honored blah-blah-blah,” (ok I didn’t write blah-blah-blah), “My work felt far from done. With each page written, I felt I was only minimally closer to understanding the dynamics of childbirth today, and what solutions might exist to improve it.

Intense personal reflection led me to the realization that practicing midwifery is the only way I will truly affect change. I once thought that higher education and advanced degrees would give me the power to effect health policy and public awareness. This may indeed be true, but I have come to value the real life practice of midwifery more than any degree. I believe it is the voices of those who work every day with women and families who will one day define how Americans (and other countries) do birth. While policy, educational outreach, and research are still of the utmost importance to me, I feel called to practice midwifery in every aspect of my being- I daydream about meeting clients, attending births, learning alternative remedies and sharing real stories with the world so that it can know the ultimate importance of women reclaiming their births, bodies, and selves.

My anthropology background has given me a deep sense of appreciation for intercultural learning, while my mother’s own practices have taught me about the value of herbal remedies, nutrition in emotional health, and the psychic aspect of healing. I believe all of these are well respected by your program, as are the local communities in which you work. While my fifth year focus seems unrelated, I actually believe that sustainability and women’s health are inherently related. We cannot continue as a species if we do not improve the overall experience of mothers and families; how can children learn to respect one another and Earth if they are brought into a world where women are punished, their bodies objectified, and their dignity stripped by machines and drugs pushed by “experts” and big business? It is this alienation from self and others that I would combat with midwife-led care, multicultural exchange, and vocal and visual advocacy, and I believe your program could provide me with all three. I hope you find my passion and background to be as good of a match for Midwife International.”

Fingers crossed!

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