“Consent”

Kate recently posted a picture to the Peaceful Beginnings Facebook Page of a poster with these words: “It’s not consent if you make me afraid to say no.”

Many U.S. women who opt for the typical medical model of maternity care report that, at some time during their pregnancy or birth experience, they felt pressure by their providers to succumb to certain tests, procedures or interventions – often surgery – because they were afraid to say no.

The care provider-client relationship for maternity care was never intended to be one of unequal dominance. Instead, your midwife is a trusted collaborator in your care. You pay for her intellectual knowledge and clinical expertise, yes, but a good midwife understands she is more of a shepherd to you than an administrator or manager. And while she might, at times, be very clear what her professional and experienced opinion is on any given decision, she should never pressure you by making you afraid to say no.

Here is the American College of Nurse Midwives’ Philosophy of Care statement, which says nothing about making clients afraid to get their consent: “We … affirm the power and strength of women and the importance of their health in the well-being …”

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