Our mission here at Indie Birth Midwifery School is to create a new path to autonomous midwifery that is sustainable. We value freedom, honesty, integrity, and mastery of midwifery skills knowledge.
We are opposed to the state policing of midwives, but we do support accountability measures amongst midwives themselves. We are hoping this document clarifies our position and personal boundaries for students of IBMS as well as the larger midwifery community.
Maryn and Margo and the Indie Birth Midwifery School do not consider students to be “midwives” until they have finished the program and completed an apprenticeship.
Completion of the program means completion of final projects and final exams. A complete apprenticeship includes but is not limited to: 2+ years of attending regular prenatal and postpartum appointments, 40+ births, and attending births in the primary midwife role under supervision until confident in attending normal birth as well as the complications that can arise. There is no exact recipe for a midwife but there IS a core group of ingredients that are necessary. Nothing magical happens between birth #39 and #40, or #49 and #50, but like a bell curve, it is a very rare midwife that is ready at 40 births.
We are trying to carefully hold the balance between masculine and feminine approaches to midwifery education, and it seems that in seeking more feminine models, there has been a dissolution of any framework, which is also not helpful.
This is a boundary that we feel strongly about holding in order to meet our needs for integrity, transparency, honesty and upholding the sacred role of “midwife”.
We need to protect the reputation of our school, which also impacts the types of students we attract and the larger worker we do in the world.
We feel strongly that women are more likely to burn out when they jump into this role prematurely. This also damages midwifery as a whole and confuses communities.
You are welcome to call yourself whatever you’d like, but if you are communicating that you are a current or former student of the IBMS program, we request that you to refrain from claiming the title of midwife (or offering midwifery services under any other title, i.e birth keeper) until you have completed the program** and completed an apprenticeship as outlined above. If someone inquires about your midwifery services or asks for a reference, we will be honest about your learning with us and what we know about your apprenticeship experience or lack thereof. If you’re considering joining our program, and you take issue with any of this, please don’t enroll.
If you are a current student, and you feel strongly about claiming the title of “midwife” but do not meet the criteria we have outlined above, we will request that you meet with the directors to have a frank conversation about how to proceed.
** There are unique circumstances where people who have already completed an apprenticeship are taking our program to fill in the gaps they have in knowledge, OR already practicing midwives are taking our program to enrich their midwifery knowledge and skillset. We are not talking about these people here. If you have any questions, reach out :)!
I’m glad you put out this statement! Honesty and clarity is always best. I do think some folks are often confused about when to call themselves a midwife. I like your definition as it relates to Indie Birth and I’m enjoying being a student so far! Thank you for holding us accountable.