For most Maui mamas, to carry, give birth, and nurture a baby within our society and community means to be tested, weighed, measured, poked and prodded. It is difficult to come out of the experience with a feeling of self empowerment and belief in your innate abilities as a mother. We can see it in the news everyday that women are no longer content with the status quo nor are they willing to be silent any longer. Women want a choice!
There are women in this gentle swelling movement who have tapped into a quiet, growing powerful source of strength, knowledge, and sisterhood. They want to ensure grace and dignity during their birth. They decline to hand over the power of their bodies or their births to another authority. A number of our island woman seek out a very special kind of woman to guide them along their unique journey into motherhood. A midwife. A wise woman who has dedicated her life to the study of the art and science of normal physiologic fertility and birth. It is a profession as old as humans. In her wisdom the midwife studies all that the female body does right and how to recognize when things are starting to tilt off course.
Women in thirty-three US states have gained the right to see a licensed qualified midwife in their communities and homes, paid for by their medical insurance for well woman care, pregnancy and birth. Maui mamas our time is coming soon!
The Midwives Alliance of Hawaii has been meeting weekly and working with representatives of the American Academy of Obstetricians, and other key stakeholders to introduce a bill to license Community Midwives in Hawai’i. This will create standards of care and allow midwives to safely and legally practice their profession while having access to life saving medications. It will allow the midwife to bill medical insurance companies as a recognized licensed provider. And it will provide consumers with valuable information about the education, training and experience of the birth practitioners they choose to care for them.
I encourage you to sign up at www.capitol.hawaii.gov before the January 17th, 2018 legislative session gets under way. When this bill gets introduced you will get an alert allowing you to vote, express your opinion, and share your testimony as to why midwifery should be legalized. Every woman that chooses a midwife, to seek out her services, to firmly establish her place of honor in our community is saying #metoo #huli2018. Our time is now.
Kiana Rowley is a Maui women’s health advocate and a cofounder of the Pacific Birth Collective. You can View Legislative status updates at https://www.midwivesallianceofhawaii.com/blog