#187 | Carrying the Torch of the Midwives Before Us: An Off-The-Record Kind of Conversation with Home Birth Midwife Lindsey Meehleis

November 16, 2022

Lindsey Meehleis is a midwife in Southern California who practices traditional midwifery and has supported women in home birth over the last nineteen years.  We invited her on the podcast today without a specific agenda (a rather unusual twist on our style) and let the conversation take on a life of its own.  We discussed what is happening with midwifery today as we pondered, "Where have all the traditional midwives gone, how has midwifery changed with the advent of nurse-midwifery, and who will carry the torch for the ancient wisdom of birth going forward?"   

We stumbled into a passionate conversation around the current cancel culture and concerns around the insidious yet intentional erasure of women through fundamental changes in everyday language and how women unknowingly give their power away through compliance not only in language but also in birth. Grab a cup of tea and join us at the table for this inspiring and important conversation on the future of birth and women.

Lindsey Meehleis on Instagram @lindseymeehleis

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View Episode Transcript

For all those 3.2 million years, I mean, who was the one that was there with women in their caves or around the circles of their bonfires or whatever. It's always women mate, maybe not, you know, deemed the midwife but the wise woman in the village that you know, had an understanding of the local herbs and plants that grew and and so you when you have women that transition through the violent beginning of the history of obstetrics in our country, and you have women like Anna Mae, that that really took back, you know what birth is and then you see them getting canceled. It just goes hand in hand to show you where we're at today. As a culture, we are deeply losing touch with this wise, elder midwife tradition that has nothing to do really with the inner workings of Western medicine.

I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

Hi, my name is Lindsey Meehleis. I am a traditional midwife I have had the honor of witnessing 1000s of women give birth over the last 19 years. I am also a mother. I have two children that are 19 and 13 years old, whose birth has completely transformed me with a very medical cesarean to be back at home underneath the stars.

Outdoors. Hmm. Literally,

literally my Jacuzzi. Nice. Yeah, yeah.

So, Lindsey The reason I wanted to invite you on the podcast today. I heard you on Dr. Seuss podcast and I guess what's going on for me personally, is I'm let me think about this Trisha, as the midwife I'm a childbirth educator. We both been doing our work for about 15 years, we have a lot of experience and I have this feeling or fear that the good midwives who started everything for all of us are old and dying. And I don't know I don't know who among us is going to be carrying their torch because I feel like midwifery in this industry is changing in a way that is concerning me greatly. In a lot of ways. I'm getting really uncomfortable with changes that are happening. People are trying to cancel ima like I'm very close with Nancy Waner. I don't know if you know her, but I'm very close with her. She coined the acronym VBAC. And she's one of those midwives who really changed things a little a little after ima, but one of those greats ima is not even doing her work anymore. And I'm like, when I heard you, I thought, I'm getting a feeling from you that you're going to be carrying the torch. And I want to just have a conversation with more people like you on this podcast, because my clients are, they don't remember, they don't know, there was another way of doing this. We see it and we see the change, but they don't even know. So I don't know, I don't know where you stand on any of this. I don't know if what I'm saying hits home with you. But that was my feeling when I heard you. And I thought I want to find more of these. Those of us who are going to carry the torch and remember what this work was all about.

Yeah, I mean, it resonates to the deepest level of my soul. And I'm covered in goosebumps that this is the reason that you sought me out, so to speak, because I don't think it's something that I consciously chose. I think it's part of who I am and my purpose on the earth here my dharma to come back to the remembering of what is so deeply being lost and misled into the current culture and it's shaky ground, right, like I'm definitely going in an upstream battle, I am not part of conforming to the societal norm that's happening right now within our Western medical culture, and I'm okay with that. You know, like, you know, my whole life I've kind of been this person that's wanted to defy against authority, not because I wanted to be defiant in the sense of the word but because I didn't feel right to me. It didn't it didn't resonate within my soul if that's the right answer, and we are deeply losing touch with this. Why's that? Older midwife tradition that has nothing to do really with the inner workings of Western medicine, it's a label that's been slapped on it within the Western medical model. And we're supposed to conform within that model. And that's what licensure is done. And that's what accredited schools have done. And I understand the purpose of it. I'm not saying that I'm against it, there's a there's a place for it. But it's, it's really taken out a lot of what we know to be the truth and heart and soul of Midwifery, which is much more than just birth. Right. And I agree with you this, this canceled culture that's happening within our culture is destructive. It's it's, it's weeding out people that have been on the forefront of this revolution, if you will. That brings it all back to mothers and babies the core, you know, like the peace on earth begins at birth, when the babies are welcomed with loving hands and loving space. We know that it can change the world. And so I think that powers to be whoever that is. Also know that, you know, and so it's, it's, it's a very weird world and having to navigate through it, specifically with Kancil culture has been very difficult and interesting to say the least.

So with that said, Lindsay, would you rather stop and officially start the episode from the beginning now? Or do you want to just take that and lead into the discussion that we'll be having today? Whatever that turns out to be?

No, I think we can lead right into it. I'm open to I'm open, I'm open, right? Like I am finding myself you know, the quote that says to speak even if you find your voice shaking, that's that's kind of where I'm at right now. And, you know, with with the fear of possibly being canceled, but not giving a fuck at the same time. I also think it's interesting that our backgrounds weave together between the three of us because I started as a childbirth educator, and I was an ibclc. And you know, work I got in trouble all the time at the hospital for for teaching people that they had different rights. And so it's beautiful that we're all sitting here having this conversation together.

Yeah, Gail, and Greenwich Hospital tried to, tried to bring me in to teach my HypnoBirthing classes there. And I've always remained independent. And because they would let on what they really wanted me to include in there. And I was like, Nope, I don't care if you have 2400 births a year, and you can make my business grow tenfold. Nope. Yeah, I'm not I'm not going to tell me what I'm going to say to my clients. I have my responsibility and my loyalty to them and to no one else. And it's liberating working for Nolan. Trisha, why don't you introduce yourself a bit to Lindsay.

All right, Lindsay. Hi. So lovely to meet you. So I'm a certified nurse midwife, went to the Yale School of Nursing and 2002 graduated in 2005. I had a home birth, because I was under my Yale health plan medical insurance. And the only option was to give birth at Yale New Haven Hospital with the one provider that they had through the ill health plan. I knew that would be not at all the type of birth experience I was after. Even though at that young age, I was only 26. I didn't really even know that much about what kind of birth experience I wanted to have. I just knew I didn't want that. And I was lucky enough to have my professor who was a homebirth, midwife and had the only CNM owned private midwife homebirth practice in the state of Connecticut. She said, You will not have your baby at Yale, you will have your baby with me. Wow, beautiful. And so I did and had a amazing home birth with all my midwifery friends and nurse practitioner, friends and attendants, as student nurses. And then I went into home birth practice because after I had my own home birth and did it that way, there was no way I was going to be able to do hospital birth. I had a hard time with it in school too. I just wasn't into it. I knew I needed to learn some things that the hospital only the hospital could teach me. But I knew it wasn't really how it was ever going to be able to practice. So then I became an ibclc. After a few years I left actually homebirth midwifery after only about three years because I had a second child and to lifestyle yet, lifestyle was very tough.

So I got training and breastfeeding medicine and I actually started a holistic gynecology practice so that I could control my schedule a little bit more. Worked for myself doing natural women's health care and lactation work. And now I'm exclusively doing lactation work. And the podcast.

Beautiful, wonderful. That's amazing. You know, interesting. I had a client that had two babies with me. They were actually both fellows at UCI. And she had beautiful home birth. And she went on it was I think it was like three days postpartum. She had her her zoom interview with with the ail Eve to get into to nursing school and midwifery school. And she got in and she went through the whole program, and I don't even recognize her anymore. Yeah. Like, I'm like, like, who are you? Like, you've lost everything that your route started with? And like, What the fuck is going on? And I mean, I'm still friends with her, and I love her. But like, wow, did she get that washed out of her real quickly?

Why did it happen? What is causing it? Is it this one? Is it?

I think there's a couple different things.

Well, why does some people lose themselves? Why do some people forget what pulled them into this work?

It's ego. It's ego, right? You when you stand behind a license that says that you're a Yale certified nurse midwife, and you can practice within the Yale system. That's a pretty big accolade. Right? And when we realize that it's has nothing to do with the degree or the accolade. That's where traditional midwifery comes in, you know, like, yes, it's great to have the education and the knowledge, but the experience is what's most important. And it's brainwashing. I mean, it's brainwashing throughout all of medical school as well, you know, you're

it's conditioning 100%. It's their model, you're learning their model. You're not, you're no, this is not like what happened for 1000s of years was sitting through birth after birth after birth with ancestors and women. This is a model that women are learning now, are we recording right now, because I feel like a lot of this stuff is really beautiful.

This might just have to be a free flow episode. Without I've never done that objection, I just might have to, this will be hard to get that in. But also, I think it's part of the conditioning within ourselves that everything has to be perfect, stepping away from the sphere to shake that up for us. So I just wanted to make a comment on your comment about your friend who went to Yale. And honestly, once the thing I started this podcast, there were some things that were still very conditioned in my brain. Even after having been out of school all those years and having practiced as a home birth midwife, I still had to do a lot of letting go of ideas about midwifery care. And I remember the first time that Cynthia said something to me about, you know, she was you were sharing a patient's story or a client story, and you said, you know, it is not for the provider to say that they will let you do that thing, or do that or not let them they don't let you.

And I kind of I was kind of like, well, no, I mean, my first feeling was, well, no, the provider is really there to to help guide you. And if they don't feel comfortable with it, they're gonna say that and you should listen. Because that's their job. And over time, I realized, it doesn't matter what I think it doesn't matter if I even if I'm treating the woman in a respectful way. And I genuinely believe that this is not the right choice for her. It's still her choice. And it truly isn't even for me, as a really open minded, supportive midwife, it's still not for me to let you do or do do something, or to not, or not do something.

I think that there's this conditioning that comes that they're here when they come in as Pete I don't call them patients, but when they come in as clients that they're coming to us for having this, you know, like God Complex, like we're here to save them, and that they're here to kind of serve what we're saying. And the reality is, is that we're here to serve them. And that's a huge mind shift to make within that paradigm of medicine.

The other piece of it, though, is outside of ego and God Complex, which really is a big factor. But I can tell you from going through the midwifery program, the the medical system, it's also this huge responsibility, this feeling of liability because providers are so liable in so much of what we are taught the policies and the procedures in the protocols are simply cover your ass stops there stops the stopgaps in place to cover the providers asks in case something goes wrong. But if you can shift into that mentality, that it doesn't, I might believe you're doing the wrong thing, but you are still ultimately the ultimate authority over your body. There's no liability. But that's not how the system views it. That's not how provide work system, not how the court system views it. No, it's not. It's the lawyers that are the problem. Yeah, yeah. And Then there's the law. And then there's what's lawful, right? Like, like, we know that there's certain things within the jurisdiction of what's considered legal. And then, and then there's things that we think like, that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. So it might be legal, but it's not what we're considering to be lawful and how a person takes autonomy of their body and gets to make choices for themselves and their babies and their families is the ultimate freedom, right with without having to have the confounds of a system that tells us what to do. When we step outside of that system, then we realize the ultimate freedom. And you know, it's so interesting, because I didn't know we were going to be talking about this, and I got a card yesterday from a client and I said, took a picture of before I left my house, and I said, I think I'm gonna have to weave this into the conversation today. And now I know why. So it was the first time and I've been practicing. I've been doing births for 19 years, almost my daughter will be 20 in December. So it'll be 19 years in December. And it was the first time that I thought to myself that like, Oh, my God, like my clients are actually seeing the type of care that I'm giving in a way that they're not thanking me and saying, I couldn't have done it without you. Because anytime that somebody says that, to me, my response immediately is yes, you could, I was not there to save you. That was not my job, I witnessed your strength, and I was not there to save you. So I'm gonna I'm gonna weave into this card. And it's, it's something that I just, you know, it gave me chills and really made me step back and think that like, Oh, I'm finally it's finally coming through. So it says, Lindsey, I am forever changed. I wish I could convey my gratitude to you. But there are no words. Thank you for making me feel so safe, that I can trust my body. And myself and my baby, again. You are not prepared, not only prepared and wise and knowledgeable. But the most important thing that you taught me was to surrender by constantly encouraging me to trust my own intuition. The first thing you always said to me was, what does it feel like to you, you have helped me unlock this power within my confidence, my instincts, and the surrender, that I am seeing the effects in my life with how I mother, my kids, myself, and nourish all of my relationships. I know that this work might be energetically draining on you. But I want you to know that you are literally changing the world. generations that come after me will be better because of the birth experience where you told me to trust myself. Thank you so much. I love you. So, you know, it's I never want to bring my ego into any of anything that comes with birth, because the most important thing that I do is tell women how fucking powerful they are. And, and yes, I've had the experience of witnessing so many wonderful women give birth in front of me. But ultimately, that that source, that power that comes through during the birthing time, is something that no one can harness. It's something that nobody can describe in a textbook. It's something that and each time, it's different within those within those walls, right, like each woman is going to experience something different, there's going to be a trauma that's released, there's going to be a memory that's passed on to a daughter, there's going to be something that happens different within every single person. So for us to have to have this model of care that says A plus B equals C. And if you don't do that, then you're going to put yourself out on the line for a lawsuit. We lose so much within that. And it's just something that is just, I mean, it's all it's my life's work again, it's heavy on my soul. It's something I push for every single day for women to have that remembering.

It's all about, as you said, bodily autonomy. And it's outrageous when you think about the fact that one human being anywhere on Earth is telling another human being what to do with their body, what position to be in how to breathe. I mean, it's outrageous when you really think about how far this goes. But when a client we never say the word patient either ever when a client thinks us and Patricia and I came from very different places, which is why it's been such a beautiful connection for us because I was in the business field before this. I was a finance professor at UConn and a corporate executive and I just was a regular I say metropolitan woman I say that because we don't talk about these types of births in the New York metro area all so much. Yeah, and I got pregnant and faced my fear of giving birth and also a longing to give birth and I just basically fired my doctor educated myself and had what turned out to be two really spectacular water births my son and my daughter about nine and nine and a half pounds each like just really shockingly beautiful experiences. And then I just felt like why can't everyone feel the peace that I feel? Why does anyone have to hurt because if I were hurting In this way, I can't describe what the suffering would feel like. So suddenly became most important thing to me to talk about it. But you know, it's interesting what you're saying, because it is about bodily autonomy, obviously. But your you pick up on the nuance of it, because when a client thinks, any of us and we've all been in that situation of these beautiful, articulate women who say, this is because of you, when we can say to them, it isn't because of me, I'm so grateful I played a role in your journey. If this was your destiny, I'm glad our lives were destined to touch and I got to play a role that did, you know, in essence, appear to be a change agent, but you are wholly responsible for your birth? And in owning that responsibility? They that is what autonomy is, how could we? And we have to also say, if we were to feel flattery, or honored that they think we are the reason for their good birth out, then what are we supposed to do with the traumatic births? Are we responsible for those two? We simply aren't. We have a role in Touching Lives? May we always serve? Well, may we always May, the May the benefits pay off for years and generations to come. But the the key to what women really need to understand and birthing is that they are 100% responsible for their birth outcome. And that means hiring the right person. And it means not being willing to have someone tell them how to breathe, what position to get in, this wouldn't be happening. If women said, You've got to be kidding me that you just told me what position to get in? Is this a joke? That you're telling me what position to get in? I'll tell you what position I'll get in and you provide a you need to figure out how to receive this baby or whatever you need to do. But you follow? I'm hiring. I don't follow your lead. Yeah, I'm the hiring manager. Yeah, I'm the hiring manager. And I'm not losing sight of that yet.

So we have two, two major problems that we face in modern day childbirth. And the first one is that it's difficult to create that safe space that you were just talking about your client who wrote this beautiful, thank you note, the very first thing she said is you made me feel safe. You allowed her to feel safe, you supported that safe space so that her body could do the necessary work that it needed to do to give birth in the way it did.

And it wasn't something that I did, right. Like I simply allowed her to remember that she was safe. You know, like, yes, you allowed her to feel safe by having a trusting relationship with her and she created her environment. But the fact that she trusted you gave her that safety. And without that safety, we cannot have our best birth. So one, we don't create an environment in the hospital for sure. Yeah, I mean, so some people do feel safer in the hospital, but the hospital in general does not create that safe space for birth that is necessary for physiologic birth to be it's it's best process. And the second thing is, what about the women who don't want this responsibility? There are a lot of women. I mean, part of what we do, Cynthia is we teach women how to want this responsibility. And Lindsey, you too. You're Empower empowering women by not through knowledge to teach them how to take this responsibility, because a lot of women, they don't want to they want to walk in through the doctor's doors and say, Tell me how to do this manage this for me, save me from myself, right? I think if we look back throughout time, in all systems, not just medicine, in in public education, in the way that menstruation is talked about, in the way that we're not even taught to know what our cervical fluid and basal body temperature is. There's chipping away of the stripping of power that comes along with all of that. And the reality of it is is that we are programmed within the Western society to be compliant humans, because people that are not compliant within that system, are ones that are going to cause problems within the government system. And if we teach women that they have to go to a care provider to be saved, then they immediately give away their power. And not only do they give away their power, but they give away their power with their mothering which typically goes into the rest of the life and then is modeled on into their children's lives as well. And so we keep this really busy lifestyle. You know, we our kids are in five different sports and they're in school from nine to three and they have piano lessons when they get home and then they do homework for three hours. And there's never time to think outside of those boxes outside of those confounding thoughts that we have of what freedom truly is. And so it's it's More than just the safety of a provider, it's, it's it's really remaining compliant within those those walls of Western society.

And somehow, too, we took childbirth and we put it into the medical model of care when it is not a medical problem to be managed. And I think there are many of us who would feel that you know, when we have a major medical problem like a broken leg, we do kind of just want to put the doctor in charge and say course, fix it for me, you have the knowledge here that I don't this is pathology. This is a problem. This is not a normal, physiologic, there's a time and a place my femur broken in half yet. But that's not childbirth. Childbirth doesn't fall in that realm of medicine. Yet we still give doctors that power as if to say that you know, my body, you know my baby better than I do. Tell me how to do this manage it for me. That's when we took birth away from women and the language and the language do you deliver my baby you don't deliver my baby? It's it again. That's one of those preposterous things that we all got used to saying. Language is powerful language does shape how we think.

And and to come back to the beginning of the story when you were talking about your friend who went to nursing school midwifery school nurse midwifery school, maybe it's not this way today, but it certainly was when I was in school. That's the language that's used. I said, deliver. I'll deliver your baby. I delivered her baby. I delivered a baby last night. That was all the language I used. Rather than I attended a birth and this was midwifery. I would say I attended birth to be just to say I delivered a baby. Yeah you've delivered three. I said that to my mentor Nancy Waner. I remember saying to her once years ago, when I was still getting to know her and I was pregnant with my daughter. I was in her home. And she's very I don't know if you know who Nancy is. She I mentioned earlier, she coined the acronym VBAC. She had a she had a fascinating life story, birth wise. And she became the first plan to be back in the country in the late 70s. And she wrote silent knife and open season. I don't know her personally, but I know who she has a name. And I remember saying to her, I was sitting there in her home. And I remember, I guess it was some kind of small talk. And I said, so how many babies have you delivered? And she said, Well, I have to live with three. But if you're asking how many births I've attended, that's around 2800. And I was like, oh, and these little that that response changed me. Again, it empowered me, it helped me to empower the clients I work with, it caused a shift in my own thinking. And I was I had already had an empowered birth. At that point, I was on my second pregnancy. But again, we keep strengthening each other, even with things so seemingly innocuous as our language matters. I remember, I studied sociology, and undergrad. And I think about all of us all the time with one particular sentence I'll never forget from one professor. He said, All progress throughout humankind began with a small, seemingly radical group of people, seemingly radical, seemingly radical, and you were talking about compliance, and how well a society needs to function. You need people to be compliant. And, you know, we all at some point in our lives might have appreciated that and said, Well, sure, we can't have chaos. Well, it doesn't mean there's chaos. When people dissent from what other people are doing, or when people are empowered to live freely. That doesn't necessarily mean chaos. But chaos doesn't do when you try to control people. And freedom is inherent. We feel it. We know it's inherent within us. Yeah, so when Trisha was saying, How come some women show up at birth, and they expect to be told what to do? What can you do? They're not, they're not ready, they're not receptive?

No, they're not. And they might never be, you know what I mean, be that that just might be the path that they've chosen in this life, and that's okay. And that's part of their sacred contract. And that's, you know, what they're, they're here to just to kind of be this complacent human on this earth, and that's okay. But I think that if you look back, you know, that that quote is great that you just said a night, you know, all the all the great thinkers knew this, you know, Albert Einstein even has a quote that, you know, mediocre minds always give violent opposition to the free thinkers. And it's, it's something that like, they know that, you know, if somebody is speaking the truth, and people know the truth, like, you know, if you're speaking something that's a truth to somebody, even though that they're told it's not the truth, they'll feel it in their body in a different way. And they're still going to have resistance to it if it's something that they're conditioned to not believe. But But deep down inside, they're gonna have that remembering of the truth and so it questions and rattles and shakes up everything inside of you, which gives that opposition but but like, to me anytime that I've, you know, shut anybody up and rattled them inside. I'm like, Heck, yeah. That means that you're actually thinking about something and if you You come back to, to the truth and Bravo on you. But like, at least there's something that's been ignited inside of you, where you have some sort of remembering that we are free inherent beings on this planet. And so it's, it's, it's tricky. And then you know, we weave it back into the language that's involved, and then you can weave it into the history of obstetrics. I mean, the history of obstetrics isn't really that long, you know, it's really over since the 1900s. And it's a blip. It's a blip blip, and that we've been here doing this for like, 3.2 million years or something. And it's like a blip. And that's all anyone sees, yep, that's all anyone sees. hospital birth is a trend, it's a trend, how to trace at home versus hospital versus the trend. Exactly. And then, for all those 3.2 million years, I mean, who was the one that was there with women in their caves, or around the circles of their bonfires or whatever, it's always women, mate, maybe not women, you know, deemed the midwife but the wise woman in the village that you know, had an understanding of the local herbs and plants that grew and, you know, to on this bark, and it will help you with this, or, you know, and then then she held some sacred safe space. And so you when you have women, that transition through the violent beginning of the history of obstetrics in our country, and you have women like Anna Mae, that that really took back, you know what birth is, and then you see them getting canceled, it just goes in hand in hand to show you where we're at today as a culture. Because if, if we can erase that, then then there's so many other things that can be erased, and that, in my opinion, there's no difference between this and the burning of witches, right? Like, like, throughout all of time, there's been something that's come up where we've tried to erase or burn the knowledge of the sacred women. And so it's I mean, that's, that's a trend for sure, as well. And, you know, something that I'm trying to do right now with a group of midwives that are just my sacred Holy Sisters is we're doing something that's called Bridge midwives. And we've we've recognized this and we've seen that there isn't really a system in place where these these oral traditions can be passed down, the storytelling of of healing can be passed down, and we're gathering those, those elders. And so one of the things that I did when I was in Bali is I connected with Robin Lim, who's a world renowned midwife, she opened up our center over in Bali, that it was called Boom, boom, Isa hot and she won CNN Hero of the Year, like in 2013, or 2014. And so the funding that she got from winning that award funded her birth center, but one of the most important parts of my trip and trust me, my trip was life transformative in all ways. But one of the most important pieces of that trip was that I got to sit with her. And I got to talk with her and I actually recorded a conversation with her. So I have some sort of technology that has her voice on it that speaks the truth of these oral traditions. And, you know, I hope to get it edited soon and brought to the world with where we can reach more people with technology, they can hear her story and, you know, she talked about how her midwifery role was passed on from her grandma, who was a traditional midwife in the Philippines, with no formal training, you know, she would just go from village to village on the back of a motorcycle, and, you know, she was she was there and whenever anybody needed her, she was there. And you know, throughout the wars throughout all the things and robins doing the same thing, anytime there's a natural disaster, you bet your ass she's on the first plane out of Bali open up a birth center. You know, she told me about stories with there was a big hurricane in the Philippines, and she was there and they, they were they were doing births and tents. Like they you know, there wasn't there was nothing there was no hospitals available. And that the OBGYN is within the towns were actually driving on, you know, like three wheels and rims to get to these tents because they knew they were the ones that knew how to do out of hospital birth. So you know, bridge midwifery is weaving these stories together in a way and I just had somebody text me this morning, up from the up in San Francisco, the north north coast of California, and she said, there's a midwife, I need you to interview and she's older and I want you to interview her before she passes away. And so it's and that was this morning, you guys. So the fact that we're talking about this means that the world needs to hear these stories, because it's it's in our faces we needed to tell them it's called synchronicity, of course, beautiful. That's just the universe telling us we're on the right path. Right.

So the question that keeps coming up in my mind and like what's wrong with midwifery today?

So I think at the heart and center of all health care, at least I would like to think at the heart and center of all health care outside of the The political dogma outside of what's conditioned and taught in school is that people enter into any profession that's helping people because they want to help people. They have a heart that wants to give and, and help people. And so I think, with technology, we get to also, you know, let the stories be heard of all these elder midwives. And so it's probably ignorance of us not listening. And I think in our culture in general, it's that we don't listen to our elders, it's not something that we typically do we lock them up in a nursing home. And we don't think that they have have wisdom to share, and they are the most sacred holders of wisdom in our culture.

Is there in your world? Is there a conflict between nurse midwives and traditional midwives? I mean, I full fully believe wholeheartedly what you said that, it I know this from all my personal nurse midwife, friends, that I know that every single one of them went into midwifery because they believe in women, and they believe in helping them they believe in supporting women, and they believe in birth. But certainly something gets shifted when they get indoctrinated through the system for too many years. And how is that playing out? between traditional midwifery and nurse midwives working together and ultimately working toward the same goals for women?

Yeah, I, I don't, in my personal world, Nurse Midwives aren't putting a barrier up, because it's something that I mean, I have lots of Nurse Midwife friends that are doing home births, and we consult in have our own little peer reviews about certain things, because there's different levels of of knowledge and wisdom that we can bring to each other for each individual case that we discussed. But I think the barrier lies within the confines of Western medicine period. I don't I don't think that it's a certain profession, per se. But it's it's the basis of this Rockefeller institutionalized medicine that was brought in the early 1900s. That this is how medicine is. And when you look at the definition of medicine, what we're doing now is the exact opposite of what that is. And so I think we're, I've said it before, many times, we're going to have a whole systematic failure, the system is going to have to burn to the ground in order for there to be a repair. Because at this point, I don't think we can put a big enough bandaid on merging the two systems together. And it's becoming more and more apparent within us even transferring to the hospital. My number one goal is never to have a home birth, my number one goal is to always have a safe birth. And if we start seeing red flags, I will always be taking somebody into the hospital, I'll be it rare. But that's that's part of my purpose as a midwife is to keep that safe space. And transferring post 2020 world has been an absolute fucking shit show, excuse my language, but I can't emphasize enough how horrible it's been and, and I've been in the trenches here for close to 19 years, I know how birth is how birth was how birth can be. And I've seen such a meeting systems in place where we've had flawless transport situations where I've been in the back of you know, and or with a woman in her family to have that continuity of care that goes from prenatal care to the birth itself, and then into postpartum. And now there's hospitals in my, you know, local county that aren't even allowing midwives to go in, which is against the law, by the way.

And it's dangerous for the mother and baby. It's so dangerous for what we write. It's not in their interest. Yeah. So whose interest is it in? Is the question. Yeah, what we know about the data on home birth is the more continuity of care. And the more collaborative care that there is between the mother and the midwife. And the OB or the transferring the hospital that they're transferring to, the better the outcomes are, for both the mom and baby are yet these are the barriers, I don't know what body in the United States model cares about the overall outcomes in other countries, when they have national health care, then the government is responsible for those outcomes. But here, it's all siloed. So it's like, well, this is what's happening in hospital births. And this is what we see in home birth, and there's this ridiculous comparison between the two. But who really has the interest in saying these are the I mean, how long have we taught the industrialized world and maternal mortality? What is it pushing 10 years now, so much the difference we watch every new group of politicians get on a stage and during debates, be presented with questions so useless and ridiculous, as do you believe in creationism versus evolution? And who's to say hey, what do you plan to do about the maternal mortality in this entry, click okay. When does that ever get?

That's never addressed.

That's what I'm saying no who's responsible for it. And I can't help but feel convinced that this is a concerted effort, and I can't help but think pharmaceuticals are behind it. Because midwives, because birthing centers are shutting down all over the country right now at the same time, someone, something is definitely behind it. And the hospital lobby shares a lobby with the pharmaceutical lobby.

And I mean, they're all in bed with each other, they're in bed with each other, and so are their associations. We think that these associations are nonprofit associations that are making recommendations that are at the best what you know, best welfare and well being for people across the board. And it's not, they're there to support each other and protect each other. They are for profit industries. And they all sit on the same boards across the way with big farm and, you know, big tech and big agriculture. And it's all they're all married. And in the in the same sentence, it's they're the same. They're all the same.

I learned only recently. I mean, I can't believe how much I'm still learning over time. But to really see how the media is in bed with with pharmaceuticals. I mean, you can see it when you see commercials on any nighttime television. But the CEO of Reuters, which used to be a name, I really trusted Reuters like just feels like one of those, you know, nonpolitical, this what I used to think, yeah, the CEO joined the board of Pfizer, like they grabbed him, and he and he's been on the board. And now that they have a new CEO there, but he's, that guy is still on the board. That's what that's how should that be legal? And that's the problem. I've always felt the biggest threat to our democracy is lobbyism. I've always felt that because it's just a matter of conflicts of interests and money. And here we are these grassroots efforts with a genuine interest in the welfare of birth outcomes, what's happening about it, right. And that not even to mention women of color, not even to mention, how much worse it is for them, which is catastrophic, catastrophic, irrespective of their education level. I don't want to hear all the little bias in here, people, well, a lot of them are on Medicaid and like, no, no, no, no, even when those women has PhDs, and are multilingual and more educated than the average person. Now they're facing the same statistics. Yeah. Yeah. So I feel like the only change that could possibly come is with us this grassroots effort, but maybe you're right, maybe somehow it has to burn down whatever that means. But I do feel there's another thing at play. And I'll just share one anecdote. That is extremely concerning to me. And I think we're going to look back on this time and recognize what a threat This turned out to be. But I was staying with my mentor, Nancy, in April for several days with my daughter, she lives in Boston, and every she eats breathes, sleeps births. So she's always wanting to be with a woman or a woman is coming to her home and or she's logging on to join a birth event or talking to a constantly in touch with her midwife, friends of many decades. And she said, Cynthia, come, you have to meet this friend of mine. She's an incredible midwife. She's been a midwife since the 80s. Here's the story that that midwife for year after year has presented at a big birth conference. It's part of her lifestyle, she gives her presentation once a year. And the midwife was told, okay, this year, we want to see your speech before the conference. So please send over your speech. She did. And for the first time in years, they wrote back and said, You must replace every single reference to the word woman, mother and breastfeeding. You cannot use any of those words once. This is frightening to me. And she refused. My thought. So here we go. Here we have these women who are clear about why they're in this work, but they quietly refuse and there they are no longer in the spotlight, speaking to the women who can benefit from their wisdom.

Yep, yep. They're in it. And this is massively part of canceled culture. But I will say that there is a ratio of women happening right now in front of our own eyes. And when we erased the power of the word, mother, and when we erased the power of the word, breastfeeding, and we, we combined it into the system just to be culturally correct, to be politically correct. We are single handedly taking away the power of that word. And, and, and woman you know, like, we I am a woman, you are a woman, we we are still women and, and just because we don't, you know, say the certain words that they're asking us to say for a small percentage of people which of course we all love and respect. And you know, it's It's there's a word somebody's actually said to me yesterday, what it's called. And it's, we're now we're going to be labeled extreme feminists.

And what the red flag is none of this controversy now is happening in men's industries. There's the wake up call to society, we're the only ones defending ourselves, we're the only ones who are being replaced in and language is powerful. To me, this is going to have very deep repercussions. I just want to know why this controversy isn't happening in men's industries. Isn't that a red flag? Yeah, it should be. I'd say this is what now looks radical, exclusionary radical feminists?

Like it's like the matrix or like looking at this, like different forms of opinions that are happening in front of our own eyes that are so media driven and political driven. And, and then you're like, is this real, like pharmaceuticals when you say political because pharmaceuticals are benefiting from this debate?

Absolutely. Absolutely. So it's, I mean, it's a profit driven process. There is profit to be made, you are nothing but dollar sign in the eyes of Big Pharma.

So as a final question, Lindsey, what can we all do to carry the torch?

So I think the most important thing for us right now is to step back into our inherent power, our inherent remembering of being sovereign, free humans, and find our people. I think when we find our people, our hearts will connect. And I think that when we connect our hearts that that's a more powerful source than anything else in this entire world. And we can continue to forge forward with the most important thing that's in front of us, which is our future generation.

Thank you for joining us at the Down To Birth Show. You can reach us @downtobirthshow on Instagram or email us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com. All of Cynthia’s classes and Trisha’s breastfeeding services are offered live online, serving women and couples everywhere. Please remember this information is made available to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is in no way a substitute for medical advice. For our full disclaimer visit downtobirthshow.com/disclaimer. Thanks for tuning in, and as always, hear everyone and listen to yourself.

Yeah, bring on the radical responsibility. Yeah, well thank you for allowing this to unfold. I mean really and truthfully it's it's whenever I do any podcast, I do a quick prayer and meditation before and you know, say spirit come through me and speak to the what needs to be said and what the universe needs to hear. And I feel like that truly happened today. So thank you for providing that opportunity.

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About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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