Are midwives becoming trendy, like juice cleanses and Tom’s shoes? It seems that way, at least among certain well-dressed pockets of New York society, where midwifery is no longer seen as a weird, fringe practice favored by crunchy types, but as an enlightened, more natural choice for the famous and fashionable. ~DANIELLE PERGAMENT, New York Times
I recently read the above quote in an online New York Times article called “The Midwife Becomes a Fashion Symbol For the Hip.” In it, the author states that more and more celebrities, as well as the financially well-set, are seeking midwives for home and hospital births. Several of the more popular midwifery groups in NYC actually have to turn away clients because their popularity has increased so much recently. And this concerns me.
I don’t want to be trendy.
I didn’t make the difficult choice to use a midwife because it would look cool. My decision to birth naturally certainly didn’t garner me much support from those who questioned my sanity. And for goodness sakes, there is an alarmingly big difference between picking out a pair of shoes (Toms, as mentioned in the quote) and choosing how to bring a child into the world.
Midwife-supported childbirth is a beautiful, time-honored tradition, but this article has reduced it to being just another fad.
If more people knew that 100 years ago nearly all women used a midwife, would it seem so trendy? Or would it be the norm? We, as a society, have become so confused as to what constitutes a normal birth that hospital, OB/GYN-led births are standard and midwifery care is the newest trend.
My concern is that if midwifery care becomes associated with celebrities and the wealthy that there will be a misconception in society that midwives aren’t for everyone. It is almost laughable to think of midwifery being a choice only for the wealthy and elite. In reality, many midwives offer their services for a fraction of the cost of a hospital and are willing to work out deals for those without health insurance.
My hope is that when choosing your healthcare provider, you look beyond what celebrities are doing or the choices of your friends.
You, just like Gisele Bundchen or Christy Turlington, have a right to choose, a choice far more powerful and long-lasting than a pair of canvas shoes. Unlike many other trends, the right to birth how you want,where you want, and with whom you choose, is a “fad” I sincerely hope never fades away.
Kate is decidedly untrendy, and she prefers it that way. When she’s not responding to misguided but well-intentioned New York Times articles, she enjoys exploring off-the-radar neighborhoods and enjoying new experiences with her sweet 15-month-old, Vivi, and husband, Kirk.